South Tahoe, Reno girls end season dead even
The magic number for South Tahoe High’s and Reno’s girls appears to be two after the second soccer meeting between the teams ended in a 2-2 tie Tuesday.
Reno rallied with two second-half goals to forge a tie with the Vikings (5-3-7 overall) and keep pace ahead of South Tahoe in the Northern Nevada 4A soccer race. The end result was identical to Oct. 2, when the teams battled to a 2-2 draw in Reno. Reno (11-4-2) has 35 points, good for third place in the league race for playoff position, ahead of South Tahoe, in fourth with 22.
“We can’t seem to beat Reno, and they can’t beat us, either,” said South Tahoe head coach Julia Peyser.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I think that we just broke down a little bit in our defense and we let them get in.”
South Tahoe led 2-0 at halftime on breakaway goals from sophomores Jen Galea and Reggie Braun – who also scored a goal in the first Reno match. Braun struck first, in the eighth minute, on an assist from senior Ashlee Francis. Francis played the ball over Reno’s back line to Braun, who collected it and converted, giving South Tahoe a 1-0 lead. Galea made it 2-0 in the 36th minute when she forced Reno’s goalie out of the box, then scored an unassisted goal.
“I think we thought we had it when we were up 2-0, but we let down a little bit, and that’s when they scored,” Braun said.
“I think we let down a lot in the second half, and played a lot stronger in the first half.”
Reno scored its first goal in the 64th minute, when Shandice Mitchell beat South Tahoe keeper Sarah Junge to the left side of the goal, cutting the lead to 2-1. Katie Gabbert tied it 16 minutes later, lofting a shot over Junge from just inside the goal area. South Tahoe missed on two golden opportunities as time was winding down, putting one shot wide left and another over the goal, and Reno held on to forge the tie.
“I think the difference was our girls were flat coming in,” said Reno head coach Jim Verdi, whose team was about 45 minutes late arriving in South Lake Tahoe. “Those girls scored two goals right away, woke them up, and we finally started to play.”
While the game had its share of fouls, the teams seemed to bury the heated rivalry that threatened to erupt in the Reno game. It’s unlikely the two teams will meet in the playoffs, but the match set a precedent for a cleanly played game should that happen.
“We have to take every game as it comes,” Peyser said. “The girls have to have the will to change the way it’s been in the past.”
South Tahoe returns to action Thursday when Galena visits for a 3:30 p.m. match.
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