Raiders hand Vikings their first loss in the semifinals
RENO — The rain alone made just about everyone want the game to end.
Trailing 6-1 with a precious few minutes left on the clock, the Vikings were no different.
The undefeated South Tahoe Vikings sustained their first loss of the season against the Reed Raiders, the No. 1 seed from the High Desert League, amid heavy rain and bitter-cold conditions in the semifinals of the 4A Regional Girls Soccer Championships in Reno.
The Raiders took an early lead when junior Tia Bartek drove to the Vikings’ 18-yard mark and put a ground shot to the right corner less than two minutes into the game.
The Vikings collected their composure, but still weren’t ready for the speed the Raiders brought to the field.
At the ninth minute, a wide open Jill Harris got a nice cross from Bartek, who had drawn the last Viking defender. Harris had plenty of time to trap the ball and set up the shot, which she put to the far post and beyond goalkeeper Sierra Shipley’s reach.
The rain wasn’t coming down too hard yet, and the Vikings recoiled with a goal from Stacey Volkmar off of a nice pass from Kelly Meyer, who returned to play the whole game despite a recently injured knee.
The Vikings then stepped up the pressure and controlled the ball in Raider territory for most of the second half, but couldn’t finish.
The Vikings had a strong scoring opportunity in the 18th minute when Meyer passed to Nolie Pierini, who sent a shot off the cross bar.
South Tahoe’s defenders tried pressuring offensively by stepping forward when Reed sent the ball deep, forcing the Raider forwards to draw the offside call.
But the Raiders were ready, and sprinted to the ball ahead of the Vikings on several occasions.
“They tried the offside traps all day and it didn’t work,” said Reed coach Jim Verdi. “We were too fast for them.”
In the 37th minute, Reed’s Erin Gallo caught a lucky break when a throw-in deep in Viking territory bounced high off a head and landed at her feet. She turned around for a quick shot for the Raiders’ third goal.
Then the rain came down hard and the Raiders stepped up the pressure.
With under a minute to play in the half, Gallo got another shot off
which bounced off Shipley’s fingertips for the Raiders’ fourth goal.
Shipley made several key saves, but the Raiders concentrated their scoring opportunities, taking only 10 shots and scoring six goals.
The Vikings lost steam in the second half but never gave up.
Reed had several scoring opportunities but finished with the largest scoring output against South Tahoe all year.
“I’m really proud of the girls,” said STHS coach Julia Russell, who was busy accounting for the players amid heavy rain after the game. “We had a great season.”
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