Warriors stomp Sparks to make playoffs
Whittell High’s final regular-season girls’ soccer game was supposed to be a tense 80-minute match in Sparks.
One minute into the second half, there was little drama remaining as Whittell had the game in hand en route to a 4-0 playoff-clinching victory over the Railroaders.
“We were already pretty relaxed,” said Whittell coach Lydia von Rumpf before Kaitlin Potnick knocked in a deflection for a 3-0 Warrior lead at the 41-minute mark. “If we had been any more relaxed, we would have been in a coma.”
Whittell, which finished 2-6 in the Northern 3A Sierra Division, will play Sagebrush champion Spring Creek (9-0-1) at 10 a.m. Thursday in Winnemucca.
Sparks forced Whittell goalie Hannah Daly to make one first-half save and Blake Bourne didn’t need to make a save in the second half.
Jane MacKelvie gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead on a breakway goal in the 30th minute and four minutes later, Tierney McKool converted a header off a corner kick by Megan Alexander for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Following Potnick’s quick goal to open the second half, Marissa McKool capped the scoring with a successful penalty kick.
Sparks could have tied Whittell for fourth place with a victory, but the Warriors were never seriously threatened.
“We are peaking at right time,” von Rumpf said. “We played a great game against North Tahoe on Tuesday, and we just need to keep it together.”
Tie keeps WHS boys out of playoffs
A tie meant everything to Sparks and nothing to Whittell on Thursday afternoon.
The Railroaders clinched the final Northern 3A Sierra League postseason spot with a 1-1 tie against the Warriors in Sparks.
Sparks finished with a 1-4-3 league mark, compared to 1-6-1 for the Warriors.
“We left everything we had on the field. We played as hard and as well as we are capable of playing,” said Whittell coach Steve Maltase. “It’s unfortunate that we beat and tied a team and they go to zone and we don’t.”
Sparks scored in the fifth minute, but the Warriors scored the equalizer in the 27th minute when Marty Rahbeck headed in a well-placed corner kick by Damian Garcia.
“It was pretty intense the rest of the way. They had us on our heels a lot of time, but our defense kept bailing us out,” Maltase said.
Paul Waite was superb in goal, and Christian Hernandez, Todd Hayes and Jonathan Sosa starred in the defensive backfield.
Whittell’s best shot at a go-ahead goal came in the final minutes when Gabriel Camargo’s blast from 20 yards out missed the mark by a foot.
Whittell finished 7-15-1 overall.