North Tahoe soccer: Girls suffer first league loss at Whittell
ZEPHYR COVE — In the second meeting between the Whittell and North Tahoe girls soccer teams, the Warriors evened the score. And Whittell did so thanks in part to a big performance from its dynamic scorer.
Junior Ali Copsy scored a career-high five goals, accounting for all the Warriors scoring in a 5-2 win over the Lakers on Wednesday. The result puts both teams tied atop the Northern Division III standings with 8-1-1 records.
“It was a frustrating game, but I’m proud of the way my girls played,” Lakers coach Stephanie Bales said. “Give it to Whittell — they played great today and got five goals on us.”
North Tahoe struck first, scoring in the seventh minute when senior Mallory Tyler headed in a corner kick. After an uneven start, Whittell started rolling midway through the first half.
“We got that first goal in, played calm and played our game for about 10 minutes,” Bales said. “We were dominating for a stretch after we scored and then it just kind of fell apart after that — we let them take over the game and dictate the way that we were playing.”
Copsy followed a pair of near misses with a goal in the 24th minute, evening the score at 1-1 with the first of a first-half hat trick. The forward took a long ball from senior Kate Krolicki just inside midfield and dribbled through North Tahoe’s defense toward goal, then dribbled past Lakers goalkeeper Rosalinda Jaurez to set up an easy finish.
Later in the first half, Copsy found the back of the net twice in a four-minute span to put Whittell ahead 3-1. In the 31st minute, Copsy took a pass from freshman Anna White and fired a one-touch shot that hit off the crossbar and in — four minutes later she gave the Warriors a two-goal lead by beating again Jaurez one-on-one.
Whittell took a 3-1 lead into the break after finishing the opening frame strong. North Tahoe’s early goal gave the visitors momentum, but the Warriors controlled play after the opening quarter-hour — the Lakers’ score came on what ended up being their only shot of the first half.
Three minutes into the second half, Copsy took a through ball from junior Gigi Stetler and produced a one-touch finish that made it 4-1. After allowing four straight goals, North Tahoe pulled within two in the 50th minute — senior Emma DesLauriers hit a long-range shot that glanced off the hands of goalkeeper Genesis Alvarez and trickled into the net.
“The biggest difference from last game is that they finished their opportunities and we didn’t finish the chances we had,” Bales said.
North Tahoe had the momentum after scoring, but it quickly vanished thanks to Copsy. In for another one-on-one chance, Copsy was pulled from behind in the box by Lakers senior Emma Sproehnle — the foul resulted in a red card and led to a penalty kick that Copsy easily converted for her fifth goal of the match.
“There were some very frustrating calls out there today, but it is what it is,” Bales said.
Trailing by three goals and down a player, North Tahoe’s chances to overcome a three-goal deficit were slim. And with 10 minutes to play, the Lakers went down to nine players after freshman Jamie Lanza was issued a second yellow card that resulted in her dismissal — from there, Whittell comfortably saw out the victory.
“My girls never gave and they played until the end, especially playing with nine players for the last 10 minutes of the game,” Bales said. “They never stopped playing.”
While North Tahoe and defending state champion Whittell are tied atop the Northern Division III standings, state finalist Incline sits in third place at 6-1-1 — all three are expected to contend for the league and state title.
“It’s just one game,” Bales said. “We have to come out strong and ready for our next game.”