ELKO — Despite dominating during a 2-1 loss to Incline Friday night, the Elko girls soccer team can now call the weekend a “win.”
On Saturday, the Lady Indians tied juggernaut and 2018 3A North champion South Tahoe, 1-1.
“Tying a team that good was a win,” said Elko coach Michelle Nicholls.
Elko’s plan was simple entering the ballgame against the then-unbeaten-in-league Lady Vikings, hunker down.
The Lady Indians fell back and focused on defense rather than scoring.
For the first 40 minutes, neither team scored — deadlocked at 0-0 at halftime — each team only taking four shots.
After the break, the Lady Vikings’ skill and aggressiveness began to pay off — creating more opportunities and cashing one.
In the 48th minute, Elko had a rare mental lapse and defensive breakdown — hanging too far back from junior Kelsey Hogan.
Hogan had plenty of room to turn, square her shoulders and unleash a rocket.
Her kick sailed from near the left edge of the box to the upper-right side of the frame for the go-ahead goal.
With Elko trailing 1-0, the Lady Indians needed to step up their offensive pressure and hope for a game-tying goal.
While chances were limited, it only took one.
In the 72nd minute, freshman Avery Beatty turned from defender to creator — seizing the opportunity of making an overlapping run.
Beatty saw the chance to track down a loose ball in open space, firing a missile of her own.
You have free articles remaining.
In reverse fashion from Hogan’s kick, Beatty pounded her shot from the right side of the pitch — crossing the kick over to the left.
The ball was a line drive and struck the left side of the net before it reached the back portion of the frame.
Game tied 1-1.
In the final-eight minutes, Elko’s defense became a little more sporadic and scattered — the Lady Indians forced to scramble — South Tahoe earning multiple attempts from the field of play and several others on corner kicks.
Each time, Elko junior goalkeeper Elayna Orr made a save, the Lady Vikings missed high or wide or senior defender Olivia Smales was often there for a crucial deflection as the last line of the Lady Indians’ defense.
South Tahoe earned another corner kick in the closing seconds, but the boot from the flag was off the mark and flew wide of the end line and directly on top of the back of the net.
The Lady Indians held on defensively for a majority of the contest, overcame a one-goal deficit with a hammered shot from a freshman and withstood late challenges from a South Tahoe team that won the 3A North regional title last season before falling to Truckee by a score of 4-3 in the state championship.
For the contest, the Lady Vikings launched 14 shots — Elko taking just five attempts for the game.
Hogan made one of her two shots count for South Tahoe, Beatty drilling one of her three boots for Elko and the game-tying score.
“I am so proud of the girls, how they responded from Friday’s loss and how they played,” Nicholls said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them.”
The Lady Indians (1-2-1 in league) will play on the road against North Valleys (3-1 in league) at 5 p.m. Friday, in Reno.
Elko will close the road trip with an early 10 a.m. Saturday start against the Lady Railroaders (3-1 in league) in Sparks.