By Tylar Laity
White Pine coach
The White Pine High girls soccer team got off to a good start last weekend in the first round of divisions against 3A school Spring Creek, but eventaully lost, 2-1, in overtime.
“It was the best first half we have had all year,” said coach Tylar Laity. “We were possessing the ball well and finding the triangles throughout the field, we got off more shots and scored on a transition run with a good pass from Gamberg to Fullmer who finished from about 30 yards out.”
But the Ladycats needed more than 40 minutes to win, there was another 40 in the second half that they played on their heels and got out shot and out possessed.
The game was back and forth though with both teams getting their chances, it was in the 65th minute that Spring Creek was awarded a corner kick and it payed off.
“It was something we have not seen before, we were just not used to it and they caught us off guard,” Laity said.
The Spartans used a quick reset and two girls to dribble out of the corner to get off a shot, keeper Hannah Barber got a touch on it but the ball had enough spin to still sneak in the corner.
In the remaining 20 minutes Spring Creek had a few more shots that came really close but Barber made some great saves. White Pine was not the only team coming up big in the keeper spot though, as the Spartans goalie stopped a few great opportunities as well.
After 80 minutes of play the game was at a 1-1 draw and was sent to overtime.
Soccer playoffs play two sudden death OT’s before going into penalty kicks if needed. Spring Creek won the toss and decided to take the ball first, “they wanted to score right away they were almost too confident,” said Sam Gamberg.
The whistle blew to start the first overtime of 15 minutes and the Spartans dropped the ball back towards their defense. Gamberg took advantage and stole the ball, broke through 2 or 3 defenders and had a one on one with the keeper, but a touch just a bit too far in front of her let the keeper slide in and steal the ball and take her out in the process.
The questionable no call for a penalty led to a corner for the Ladycats who could not quite finish a heading chance by Fullmer. For the next 12 minutes both teams took shots and had a few just miss or get stopped until in the 13th minute the Spartans got a quick steal and played it wide.
The play stretched out the WP defense and led to an odd overlap in which Spring Creek was able to take a shot that went to the far post and in.
The goal was a game ending and season ending goal for the Cats, who “had nothing to hold their heads about” Laity said. “Its tough week in and out to get wins against opponents with schools your size but when you can battle a school with three times the student body we have, that shows true grit.”
The Ladycats had a memorable season that ended up a bit short of what they had planned but breaking three NIAA team records and five individual records is something the girls will always remember.
“We put in the work during the offseason to get us here, said junior captain Lily Fullmer, “And now we know that we have a little bit more work to do.”