Reed coach Jason Saville felt good about his squad’s chances going into Wednesday night’s home DI North quarterfinal against Douglas–the defending DI North champ.
Earlier in the season, his Raiders fell to the Tigers, who finished third in the Sierra League, 4-1, but played them even, 1-1, in the final 40 minutes of that contest.
A similar trend developed early on Wednesday in freezing temperatures as neither team got on the board for much of the first half until the 37th minute, when senior McKenna Kynett blasted a shot home from 30 yards out.
The Tigers added three more goals in the second half to eliminate the Raiders, 4-0.
“I thought we had an opportunity,” Saville said. “It could have been three or four in the first half, but it was only one. And I was pretty comfortable we could get the one back … When it goes (to 3-0), the air just leaves the room.”
Douglas coach Werner Christen, who admitted he didn’t feel great about the matchup going in, was not conservative describing the significance of Kynett’s tally three minutes before the break.
“That was huge because I was just talking with the coaches and was like ‘these are the kind of games you get all those chances and someone comes back with a counter and gets you and all of sudden you’re down by one,'” Christen said. “So that was a really big goal for us.”
It was the lone shot Douglas put in the net before the break despite outshooting Reed 13-1 and putting seven shots on frame to Reed’s zero.
Alissa Holley added an insurance goal six minutes into the second half from 10 yards out after beating two Reed defenders in the box.
Jessica Withrow won a free ball in the box in the 64th minute and capitalized to push the distance to 3-0 before Alex Moss capped off the scoring in the 68th, lofting a shot at a steep angle from 13 outs just inside the far post.
“At the end of the day, the experience, the athleticism, the speed was too hard for us to overcome tonight,” Saville said.
Douglas finished with 27 shots (17 on goal) while Reed mustered four (two on goal).
The Raiders, who finished second in the High Desert League, ended the season 11-7-0. They led Spanish Springs 1-0 on the road last week and would have won the league title outright with a victory but couldn’t hang on and settled for second.
Battling adversity all season, including a handful of injuries, Saville chalked the season up a success.
“If someone would have told me with the way our season started and everything we had to overcome, that we’d be 40 minutes from winning a league title and we’d only be 1-0 down against Douglas in the playoffs, I wouldn’t have believed (them),” he said. “But I would have taken it.”
Douglas (14-4-3) plays Carson on Saturday at 4 p.m. at North Valleys for a berth in the DI North title game.
The two Sierra League foes split their regular-season series.