SOUTH TAHOE, California — For the first weekend of the season, the Spring Creek girls soccer team was both already facing and dealt with mounting injuries and tired bodies.
A team that can fly — possessing a lot of speed — was somewhat grounded due to a limited roster.
The Lady Spartans kicked off season with a three-game slate during the South Tahoe Tournament, earning a draw in the opener and closing with consecutive losses.
Versus Pahrump Valley
Against the Lady Trojans, Spring Creek started slowly — gradually improving its play throughout the match Friday.
“We played decent in the first half but the second half, we played much better,” said Spring Creek head coach Kami Crowe.
After allowing a first-half goal, the Lady Spartans nearly nullified the deficit with a penalty kick.
Junior Chloe Zuraff was taken out in the penalty box, senior Kattalin Lopategui striking the PK with conviction.
“Kattalin hit a rocket and bounced it off the side post,” Crowe said.
Despite the disappointment of a near miss, Crowe said her team possessed the much of the second half — leading to a revenge boot.
In the final minute, Lopategui made amends — knotting the contest 1-1 — Crowe saying she “hit a beautiful shot over the keeper’s head.”
The Lady Spartans came back for another game Friday night against Reed, playing their second game in 4-1/2 hours without several key athletes.
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“Lydia Binger was out with a knee injury, and Libby Murphy and Ashton Moon were out with their injuries from the preseason,” Crowe said.
The Lady Raiders used the absences to their advantage, seizing control early with a pair of first-half goals.
Spring Creek settled in, shored up its defense and created some opportunities.
“We played much better and played quite a bit on the offensive half,” Crowe said. “Freshman Taylor Brunson dribbled up — beating about three defenders — and rocketed a shot and hit the crossbar.”
The Lady Spartans fell by a final score of 2-0, but Crowe said the girls “played great and worked a lot of kinks out.”
However, the injury bug bit once again.
Crowe called up Riley Moon from the junior varsity, but she may have torn a meniscus in her knee after playing the whole game alongside Lopategui in the center of the midfield.
Versus Sunrise Mountain
In their finale, the Lady Spartans tacked on their second goal of the tournament but fell 2-1 on Saturday to Sunrise Mountain.
“We were exhausted with limited subs,” Crowe said. “I pulled another JV player up, Meagan Borresch, and limited playing time to my injured.”
Crowe said the girls were “very slow and reactionary to the ball.”
Spring Creek’s lone score of the game was booked by sophomore Shyann Lamb on what Crowe called a “beautiful shot around the half mark.”
The Lady Spartans will open Division 3A North play on the road, facing the defending state champions at 5 p.m. Friday, in Truckee, California.
Spring Creek will close the trip with a noon Saturday kick against North Tahoe.