SPRING CREEK – Friday’s game between the girls soccer programs of visiting South Tahoe and home-squad Spring Creek provided a battle that was much closer the final score.
The Lady Vikings improved to 13-0 in league play of the Division 3A North with a 6-2 victory, but the Lady Spartans experienced many positive moments and had South Tahoe out of sorts for lengthy periods of play.
South Tahoe took a 1-0 lead 13 minutes into the game, sophomore Giovana De Loia knocking home a solid shot from the middle of the box.
In the early stages of the match, South Tahoe had Spring Creek on its heels – the Lady Vikings’ speed causing problems in the back end of the Lady Spartans’ defense.
In the 22nd minute, freshman Marley Befu sent a gorgeous long ball from the left side of the field to sophomore Kelsey Logan in-stride on the right wing.
Behind the defense, she finished the shot with a poke to the far post for a 2-0 lead.
The lead nearly reached three goals four minutes later, but Spring Creek sophomore Betsy Fellows made a nice save.
Momentum nearly shifted hands.
Firing a direct kick, Spring Creek freshman Shyann Lamb unleashed a long shot from the middle-left side that lined into the South Tahoe goalie’s chest – the ball was blocked – but shot across the line and should have been a goal for the Lady Spartans.
Momentum did shift immediately after.
From the reset, South Tahoe pushed the ball down the left side of the field.
Junior Branda Warden launched a kick from the left side near the 18-yard box, finding nothing but the back of the net on the opposite side.
South Tahoe pulled ahead 3-0 in the 30th minute.
Spring Creek’s Kattalin Lopategui worked herself free down the left side of the field and sent a perfect cross pass to the sophomore Hailee Dixon, who was fouled as she went for the kick.
The Lady Spartans were awarded a penalty kick, and senior Lindsey Morrill didn’t disappoint.
Her punch pounded the left side of the frame, pulling Spring Creek to within 3-1 in the 34th minute.
To start the second half, Spring Creek dropped seven girls to the back and played a 4-3 defense.
The tactic was effective, South Tahoe finding clean looks and possession of the ball hard to come by.
Spring Creek went on the attack and earned several free kicks from distance but was unable to cash in.
The Lady Spartans traded unsuccessful corner kicks, but South Tahoe nearly opened a 4-2 advantage on a great ball from Hogan.
Dribbling down the left wing, she sent a cross in the box to De Loia – who drilled a header but narrowly slipped the ball over the crossbar.
Shortly after, the Lady Spartans’ aggressive approach toward the Lady Vikings’ frame payed off once again.
Spring Creek was awarded a penalty kick, Morrill’s shot winding up exactly where the first did – back of the net, left side.
The lead was trimmed to one at 3-2 in the 53rd minute.
Another near score came off the foot of Lopategui from the left side, but the field flipped immediately – Spring Creek trying to tie the game and leaving no defense in the back end.
South Tahoe took the ball downfield, and freshman Angelina Maltase smoked a shot into the net on an assist from Hogan.
The score provided a turning point in the flow of the match, South Tahoe dominating the final 20 minutes.
Freshman Jenna Pevenage earned a penalty kick on a run up the gut and booted the ball home in the 69th minute.
The capping blow came with three minutes remaining, Warden scoring her second goal of the game on a running head-poke in the center of the pitch on Hogan’s second assist.
A competitive ballgame ended with a 6-2 final score in favor of South Tahoe.
Spring Creek dropped to 4-6-1 in league play and needs a win at noon Saturday, against Incline.