Division III soccer | Laker girls end year with state semifinal loss
The North Tahoe girls twice rallied back from deficits against Incline in the Division III state semifinal Friday, only to fall one goal shy.
After the Highlanders took a seemingly commanding 5-2 lead in the 73rd minute, North Tahoe junior Bryn Anderson scored two goals in the final six minutes to cut the lead to 5-4. But that’s where it ended as Incline held on to advance to the state championship.
Tournament host Whittell, which entered as the top seed at 14-0 in Northern Division III play, went on to defeat second-seeded Incline (12-2) by a score of 3-1 to deny the Highlanders their third consecutive state title.
The third-seeded Lakers (8-4) thought they should have at least taken their lakeside rivals to overtime.
Trailing 4-2 in the 69th minute, Anderson blasted a long shot that hit off the bottom of the crossbar and bounced almost straight down. North Tahoe players, coaches and fans contended that the ball crossed the goal line. But the referee ruled otherwise.
Anderson settled for three goals on the sunny afternoon, while sophomore Piper Joubert scored one.
Incline junior Vanessa Andrade, meanwhile, scored three goals to help lift the Highlanders to victory, including the tying and go-ahead scores.
After Andrade broke a 2-2 tie with a goal midway through the second half, Incline scored two more to extend its lead to 5-2.
Freshman Belle Johnson beat the North Tahoe defense on a hustle play to adjust the score to 4-2, and senior Caitlin May converted a penalty kick to round out the Incline offense.
Anderson answered just one minute after May’s penalty kick, then scored again after following the rebound of a free kick that was initially blocked by Incline goalie Karyss Thompson.
Andrade, the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, put Incline on the board with a goal assisted by Kimberly May in the 14th minute of the contest. Anderson then knotted the score when she curled a shot into the upper corner of the goal from 20 yards out in the 30th minute.
In the 36th minute, Joubert got her head on a corner kick taken by Anderson to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead.
The advantage didn’t last long, however. Andrade responded two minutes later by dribbling all the way into the box from the midfield, with North Tahoe defender Allison Wright chasing at her side, and depositing a shot past charging goalie Sara Trimm to tie the score.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the way we played,” said North Tahoe coach Stephanie Bales. “The girls proved why they deserved to be in that game. Credit to Incline for a great game. It was a battle. Both teams fought to the end and it was a great game to watch.”
The Lakers, who lost 4-2 and 2-0 to the Highlanders during the regular season, ended the year 9-7 overall.