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WHS soccer eying state berth

Jeremy Evans

The Whittell High girls’ soccer team is no longer happy with just qualifying for the Northern 3A regional tournament. This year, the Warriors want to stick around a while.

Whittell, the No. 3 seed from the Tahoe League, faces Dayton, the No. 2 seed from the Sagebrush League, in a first-round match on Thursday at 3 p.m. at South Valleys Regional Park in Reno. The Warriors have been outscored by the Dust Devils 5-0 in two losses during the regular season.

“Not to make excuses or anything, but we were missing Hannah Daly both times,” WHS first-year coach Tony Cormier said of his sophomore goalie, who is a member of the United States Under-16 women’s soccer team. “I feel the girls are definitely more prepared this go-around. We won’t be missing any players and can go at them full force.”

With the top three teams from the Northern 3A regional tournament advancing to next week’s 3A state tournament, the Warriors have a solid shot at getting there. The Tahoe League has been dominant in past regional tournaments, and there is a good chance that all four Tahoe League teams will advance to Friday’s semifinals in Fallon.

If Whittell (14-7-1) beats Dayton, it would face the winner of the Truckee-Fernley match in the semifinals. In two matches during the regular season, the Warriors tied the Wolverines and lost to them. WHS is 1-4-1 against North Shore powers Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline this season.

Even with a loss on Friday, the semifinal losers meet in Saturday’s third-place match at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the 3A state tournament. After upsetting top-seeded Spring Creek in the first round last year, Whittell lost in the regional semifinals to Incline in a game, watching the rival Highlanders punch their ticket to the state tournament.

Incline, which is in the bottom half of the bracket this season, could be waiting for the Warriors in the third-place match if the four Tahoe League teams advance to the semifinals. Whittell beat the Highlanders once this season and lost to them 2-1, though the Warriors held a 1-0 second-half lead in that game.

“I don’t want to put any extra pressure on them, but we could go to state,” Cormier said. “The girls are really pumped and we are focused right now on picking Dayton apart. We want to send them packing. And we want to send our two seniors off with maybe a state tournament appearance. It’s not that far-fetched.”

Vikings ready for Douglas

The South Tahoe High girls’ soccer team will attempt the unenviable task of trying to beat the same team three times in a season tonight at 6 when it plays Douglas in a Northern 4A regional tournament semifinal at Damonte Ranch in Reno.

“As a coach, I know it’s difficult to beat somebody three times in a row,” said STHS coach Clint Lockhart. “But after considering what we’ve accomplished as a team this season, I just believe we can beat them a third time.

“After the game with Spanish Springs, the girls know what to expect as far as intensity level. They realize now that playoffs aren’t like league games. Everybody steps up.”

In two victories over Douglas during the regular season, South Tahoe outscored the Tigers 6-0, including a 2-0 victory last week in Minden that snapped the Douglas’ 17-game unbeaten streak at home.

The Tigers (13-6-1) posted a 2-1 OT victory over Elko in a first-round match on Saturday, the team’s first playoff win under third-year coach Lorraine Fitzhugh. The top-seeded Vikings (21-2) defeated fourth-seeded Spanish Springs in a penalty-kick shootout in their first-round match.

South Tahoe, which hasn’t won a regional title since 1996, brings an 18-game win streak into tonight’s match.

Northern 4A Regional Tournament

at Damonte Ranch High School, Reno

Today

Semifinals

Reed vs. McQueen, 4 p.m.

Douglas vs. South Tahoe, 6 p.m.

Saturday

Championship

Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m.


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