Whittell girls soccer beats North Tahoe 5-2, exacts revenge behind Copsy’s five goals | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell girls soccer beats North Tahoe 5-2, exacts revenge behind Copsy’s five goals

Anthony Gentile | agentile@tahoedailytribune.com
Whittell forward Ali Copsy hits a penalty kick in the Warriors’ Div. III Northern league match against North Tahoe on Wednesday, Oct. 14. Copsy scored five goals in Whittell’s 5-2 win.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

In the second meeting between the Whittell and North Tahoe girls soccer teams, the Warriors evened the score. And Whittell did so thanks in part to a big performance from its dynamic scorer.

“I went into this game differently than any other,” Whittell junior Ali Copsy said. “I knew that I needed to be here for my team.”

Copsy scored a career-high five goals, accounting for all the Warriors scoring in a 5-2 win over the Lakers on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The result puts both teams tied atop the Div. III Northern League standings.

“The big thing for us is finding our stride,” Warriors coach David Caputo said. “We’re finally figuring out that formula for what it takes to win games.”

“We’re finally figuring out that formula for what it takes to win games.”David CaputoWarriors coach

North Tahoe (11-3-1, 8-1-1 III Northern) struck first in Wednesday’s match, scoring in the seventh minute when senior Mallory Tyler headed in a corner kick. After an uneven start, Whittell (10-1-1, 8-1-1) started rolling midway through the first half.

Copsy followed a pair of near misses with a goal in the 24th minute, evening the score at 1-1 with the first of a first-half hat trick. The forward took a long ball from senior Kate Krolicki just inside midfield and dribbled through North Tahoe’s defense toward goal, then went around Lakers goalkeeper Rosii Barrera to set up an easy finish.

“We knew that this keeper was aggressive and she comes out on the line a lot,” Copsy said. “We knew what to expect. I just had to poke it to the side and dribble on in.”

Later in the first half, Copsy found the back of the net twice in a four-minute span to put Whittell ahead 3-1. In the 31st minute, Copsy took a pass from freshman Anna White and fired a one-touch shot that hit off the crossbar and in — four minutes later she gave the Warriors a two-goal lead by again beating Barrera one-on-one.

“Every single time I’m one-on-one with the keeper, I know it has to be a pass and not a shot,” Copsy said. “It has to be in, otherwise I’ve wasted the opportunity for my team.”

Whittell took a 3-1 lead into the break after finishing the opening frame strong. North Tahoe’s early goal gave the visitors momentum, but the Warriors controlled play after the opening quarter-hour. The Lakers’ score came on what ended up being their only shot of the first half.

“Once we settled and started playing our game, the result came out of it,” Caputo said.

Three minutes into the second half, Copsy took a through ball from junior Gigi Stetler and produced a one-touch finish that made it 4-1. After allowing four straight goals, North Tahoe pulled within two in the 50th minute; senior Emma DesLauriers hit a long-range shot that glanced off the hands of goalkeeper Genesis Alvarez and trickled into the net.

North Tahoe had the momentum after scoring, but it quickly vanished thanks to Copsy. In for another one-on-one chance, Copsy was pulled from behind in the box by Lakers senior Emma Sproehnle — the foul resulted in a red card and led to a penalty kick that Copsy easily converted for her fifth goal of the match.

“In the past, I’ve had a little bit of a hard time with the pressure of more challenging games,” Copsy said. “Today I went in and knew that this needed to be for my team — it wasn’t about me, it was for the team.”

Trailing by three goals and down a player, North Tahoe’s chances to overcome a three-goal deficit were slim. And with 10 minutes to play, the Lakers went down to nine players after freshman Jamie Lanza was issued a second yellow card that resulted in her dismissal — from there, Whittell comfortably saw out the victory.

“The key was working as a team, working hard at practice and actually developing as a unit instead of individually playing,” Copsy said. “At the beginning when we played them, we weren’t ready and we weren’t a team.”

In the first round of league play, Whittell lost to North Tahoe 2-1 on the road Sept. 16. Since then, the Warriors have gone on a nine-match unbeaten streak — including wins at West Wendover and White Pine last weekend, Oct. 9-10.

“That was the wake-up call of the season,” Copsy said. “We needed it to know that anybody can get state, it’s not going to be given to us — we need to work.

Defending state champion Whittell and North Tahoe are tied atop the Div. III Northern standings with identical marks in league play. State finalist Incline (7-6-2, 6-1-1) sits in third place — all three are expected to contend for the league and state title.

“We have to work for each other, we have to play as a unit — we can’t be playing for ourselves,” Copsy said. “It has to be together, otherwise we’re not going to make it to state and we’re not going to take the title again.”

Whittell returns to action Friday, Oct. 16, at Battle Mountain. The Warriors play at Pershing County the following day.

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