Whittell girls nearly upset Lakers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell girls nearly upset Lakers

Jeremy Evans

ZEPHYR COVE – The Whittell girls’ soccer team needed just one win in its final two games to secure a playoff berth. With matches this week against perennial power North Tahoe and winless Sparks, the Warriors figured their best chance was against the Railroaders.

But Whittell nearly pulled off the league’s biggest upset of the season, opening up a 1-0 lead in the first half over the Lakers before giving up two second-half goals in a 2-1 3A Sierra League loss on Tuesday. It’s the first time in at least four years Whittell has held a lead against North Tahoe, which has won four state titles since 1995.

“I’m only disappointed with the score,” said WHS coach Lydia von Rumpf. “I am happy with everything else. The girls played hard and the defense, led by Marissa McKool, Austyn Harrington and Natalie Rastello, played exceptionally well. This should give us more confidence.”

In the 27th minute, Gabriella Tracy put the Warriors up 1-0 after a poor clearance was redirected into the side netting by the sophomore midfielder. Before halftime, McKool nearly made it 2-0 with a direct kick that nearly chipped the keeper before it was snared out of the air.

But in the second half, the Lakers were a much different team.

They constantly attacked the Whittell goal and were finally rewarded in the 57th minute, when Cassidy Iverson’s cross was partially saved by Hannah Daly, then placed in the net by Jenna Burnside. Fifteen minutes later, Burnside again scored, this time off a nicely executed give-and-go from Shannon Nicholls.

“It’s always hard to know what to expect,” said North Tahoe coach Kristen Ylander, whose team remains in second place in the league standings. “We were missing a few players because of injuries and we’re still working on getting healthy. But their keeper was amazing. She made some ridiculous saves.”

Daly, a freshman, kept Whittell in the game with several saves that were certain goals. A similar-type effort will be needed on Saturday, when Whittell looks for its second win of the season over Sparks.

“Although we only beat them 2-0 the first time, we completely dominated them,” said von Rumpf, whose team is 12-7 overall and 1-6 in league play. “They didn’t get any shots on goal, so we are confident we can beat Sparks and will get into the playoffs.”

If the Warriors clinch the No. 4 seed from the Sierra League, they will face Sagebrush League champion Spring Creek in the first round of the Northern 3A regional tournament. The Spartans beat Whittell 1-0 on Saturday and absorbed 18 shots on goal from the Warriors.

STHS girls roll Hug

Six different Vikings scored in their final tune-up before the playoffs as the South Tahoe girls’ soccer team cruised past Hug 6-0 in a Sierra League match on Tuesday in Reno. Nina Thompson opened the scoring in the third minute off an assist from Karli Vath, and the Vikings continued to pour it on from there.

Morgan Cook, Cassidy Berg, Jamie Morris and Brittany McKinnon all scored goals in the first half for South Tahoe, which also got assists from McKinnon, Berg and Kelsi Buts. Justeen Ferguson finished the scoring with her goal in the second half.

“This was a good game for us,” said STHS first-year coach Clint Lockhart. “Everybody played and got a lot of playing time. We worked on a lot of stuff for the postseason, different lineups and different formations.”

South Tahoe (17-2-3 overall, 9-2-3 league) has now clinched the league’s No. 2 seed in the Northern 4A regional tournament. Although the Vikings are tied with Reno at 9-2-3, they hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Huskies because of their 1-0-1 record against them.

South Tahoe will face either McQueen or Elko in the first round on Saturday. Northern 4A playoff brackets with times and venues are expected to be released today.

WHS boys shutout by Lakers

Preseason league favorite North Tahoe scored three goals in the first half and added two more in the second in a 5-0 3A Sierra League win over Whittell on Tuesday in Zephyr Cove. The Warriors (7-15-1 overall, 1-6 league) can still clinch the league’s No. 4 seed at the Northern 3A regional tournament with a win at Sparks on Saturday.

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