Whittell girls soccer rallies past Incline 3-2
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For the first time this season, the Whittell girls soccer team showed it could fall behind and still prevail. The Warriors beat Incline 3-2 on Tuesday, erasing a halftime deficit to remain undefeated in 10 league matches.
“It was certainly in the back of my mind — how the girls would react to being down and having to come back,” Warriors head coach Patrick Kelly said. “They certainly answered the call tonight.”
Whittell (12-1, 10-0 IV West) opened the scoring Tuesday night, taking the early lead with a goal from forward Ali Copsy. Incline (9-4, 8-2) pressured the Warriors throughout the first half, and that pressure turned into a pair of goals that put the Highlanders ahead 2-1 at halftime.
“Incline played really well tonight — they’re a good, solid team, they came out and pressured us early and we didn’t really adjust to it too well in the first half,” Kelly said.
Incline’s second goal put Whittell in an unfamiliar position — trailing its opposition. The Warriors had only been behind in one match this season before Tuesday, and hadn’t trailed a league opponent.
“It was a question I had so far this season — it was good to have the ability to come back against a good, quality team,” Kelly said. “It took them a little bit to get their game back, and they were able to do that.”
If the Warriors were uncomfortable, it didn’t show after halftime. Ten minutes into the second half, midfielder Gigi Stetler corralled a bouncing ball for a goal that tied the match — and in the 65th minute, Copsy scored her second on a cross from forward Kenya Maltase to put Whittell ahead 3-2.
After Copsy’s go-ahead goal, Whittell hung on to secure its first comeback victory of the season. Incline had two chances in the closing minutes, and Warriors goalkeeper Lauren George stopped both — including a diving save to her left — as part of a performance that included six quality saves.
“We made a few adjustments at halftime and played a much better second half than first half,” Kelly said. “It was good that they were able to come back and get a victory.”
Tuesday’s victory was Whittell’s third straight since suffering its first loss of the season at South Tahoe on Oct. 4. The Warriors won a pair of road matches in consecutive days last week, beating White Pine and West Wendover by identical 7-0 margins.
Against White Pine last Thursday, Whittell scored five goals after halftime en route to a 7-0 win. Midfielder Sabrina Trachsel led the way with two goals and an assist and Stetler and midfielder Kate Krolicki each had a goal and an assist — Copsy, Maltase and midfielder Madison Idso also found the back of the net, and midfielder Gisselle Benitez added an assist.
The following day, Whittell blanked West Wendover 7-0. Copsy scored two goals, and Maltase and defender Daria Sharon each recorded a goal and an assist — Trachsel, Benitez, and midfielder Corrine Novotny also scored, Stetler had two assists and Krolicki added a helper.
Whittell returns to action at home Friday against Battle Mountain at 5 p.m. The Warriors host Pershing County the following day at 4 p.m.