Lady Coyotes advance, receive surprise after drubbing Evergreen Valley
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Feeling angry and disrespected, Lake Tahoe took out its frustration on Evergreen Valley.
The Coyotes demolished the Hawks 5-0 Saturday in the first round ofthe California Community College Athletic Association Women’s Soccer Regional Championships and then postgame received stunning news from their head coach Jeremy Evans.
After teasing them for a minute, he could hardly contain his smile.
Evans, like he dropped the mic, turned his back on his team and the setting sun and walked away while his players went nuts.
Earlier in the week, Lake Tahoe received the No. 5 seed when they deserved No. 2. They didn’t get the higher seed, in a nutshell, because Butte didn’t play the regular season finale against Lake Tahoe due to the deadly north state Camp Fire. They lost precious power points.
With the lower seed, the Coyotes expected to play at Fresno in the next round/quarterfinals.
But now, the Coyotes will host No. 13 West Valley at a time to be determined Tuesday, likely in the afternoon. Lake Tahoe was tied 2-2 by West Valley earlier this season on home turf.
“Fresno is obviously a very good team but we didn’t want to go on the road,” Evans said. “Now the girls get the home game they thought they deserved and some redemption because West Valley was a team that tripped us up and there’s excitement at getting to play them again.”
Hearing Fresno lost was especially thrilling for Saturday’s biggest hero Lauren Wolcott.
The sophomore has a class Tuesday that she cannot miss and was destroyed thinking about not being with her team.
“That’s huge,” Wolcott said. “I’m super stoked I get to play. We played West Valley and it was the most frustrating game, I was almost crying. It’s a rematch against a team I know we can beat. Here, on our turf, and I get to play.”
Wolcott, a Colorado native, stabilized the Coyotes with a goal 25 minutes into the game.
It was off a free kick that had been weeks in the making.
Wolcott has spent hours practicing from about 30 yards, the exact range.
“I practice in this area a lot and this is my wheelhouse,” Wolcott said while pointing to her spots on the field. “I knew it was mine. I put it down. I looked back post. The goalie was sitting a little more towards the back post and I thought, ‘Let’s have a little fun. Let’s bend it over the wall.’ I hit it where I was aiming.
“And we needed something for sure,” she added. “We were getting frustrated at each other. Their intensity was probably more than ours and then that goal broke the ice.”
The shot sailed just over the wall and into the right upper corner of the net. The shot was so good, the goalie was nowhere near making a play.
“We’ve seen Lauren out here practicing for hours and hours because she doesn’t train with us Tuesday and Thursday because of class,” Evans said. “That was a big time goal because it seemed like the pressure was mounting. It couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Lake Tahoe’s leading scorer Emily Roberts 10 minutes later gave the Coyotes some breathing room.
The Mammoth Lakes native collected a bouncing ball in the box from a corner kick and put just enough on her shot to beat the keeper who got a hand on it, but not enough to keep it out of the net.
Former Carson High star Isabella Wakeling won the award for prettiest goal. Just moments before the first half ended, Wakeling lofted a soft left-footed shot from a sharp angle inside the box, and curled it just over the goalie’s reach.
“I thought we came out nervous,” Evans said. “Lauren’s goal eased the pressure and got us going. It was a nice rebound from a tough start. And then Emily got one and Bella’s shot was amazing.”
With 27 minutes left in the game,Wolcott scored her second goal, cherry picking a loose ball inside the box.
If Wakeling had the prettiest goal, Alyssa Williams had the highest effort goal.
Eleanor Boothman, of England, lofted a long pass to about the Coyotes logo at midfield.
Like a bloodhound sniffing a goal, Williams went after the scent.
She battled one on one with a defender for about 60 yards until her run ended with the defender and goalie both beat. She tapped home the final score in stoppage time.
“Alyssa Williams made a 60-yard run in the final minutes because she cares,” Evans said.
There are eight teams remaining in the northern California bracket and the finalists advance to the state tournament.
“This was not our best game,” Wolcott said. “We did not come out how we usually do. We got the result we wanted and it was another opportunity to get ready for the games that really matter.”