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Girls soccer: Senators score overtime thriller for Div. I North title


1:00 AM, Nov. 04, 2012 EDT

Reno' Michele Whan and Carson' Kenzie Tillitt fight for the ball on Saturday. / Tom Smedes/Special to the RGJ

The Carson High athletic department is going to need a bigger bus.

Just hours after the Senators' boys soccer team won the Division I North regional title Saturday afternoon at Damonte Ranch High School, the Carson girls repeated the feat, scoring in overtime to outlast Reno High, 2-1, in a back-and-forth thriller.

The Senators boys and girls teams will represent the North at the Division I state tournament, Friday and Saturday at Heritage Park in Henderson.

Carson scored the final two goals of Saturday's girls final, with both coming from Michelle Sandage off assists by Kenzie Tillett. Sandage's game-winner, a short-range shot after a scramble in front of the Reno goal, came in the 13th minute of overtime and set off a wild celebration along the Carson side of the field.

For her part, Sandage did her best Brandi Chastain impression, dropping to her knees and stripping off her uniform top like the U.S. midfielder did when she ended the 1999 women's World Cup with a shootout goal.

"She's such a strong girl; I felt like she would be able to get herself a good opportunity," Carson coach Greg Lehman said of Sandage. "We felt good going into the overtime. It was a chance to re-organize and get back to playing our game."

Reno opened the scoring in the 18th minute when sophomore Ellie Small took a nice ball from Michele Whan down the right side and sent a rocket past Carson goalie Emmy Heller for her fourth goal of the regional tournament. Small nearly scored again three minutes later, just missing on a shot that would have given the Huskies an early 2-0 lead and changed the tenor of the game.

"That's been a trend for us, especially lately: we score early and try to keep that momentum through the rest of the game," Reno coach Shelly Gamble Avansino said.

"We might have sat back a little bit after our goal, but we definitely weren't playing to go into overtime. We felt like we could win it."

Small, nursing a tender ankle throughout the region tournament, limped off the field at the 32-minute mark.

The Huskies, though, maintained their 1-0 lead to the end of the half.

After a number of close calls and with increased pressure bearing down on Reno goalkeeper Taylee Weight, Carson finally broke through at 61 minutes, with Tillett setting up Sundage for the equalizer. Both players had returned to the field after being sent off with yellow cards in separate incidents just minutes earlier.

Lehman was well aware that he couldn't have two of his better players standing on the sidelines due to questionable decision-making.

"It gave us an opportunity to have a few minutes with them," he said of Sandage and Tillett.

Carson, which also won the northern regional last year, will open its state-title bid Friday afternoon. The Division I state championship game is Saturday at noon.

 

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Rank School Record
1 Elko High School
Elko, NV
9-1-0
2 Lowry High School
Winnemucca, NV
19-2-0
3 Edward C Reed High School
Sparks, NV
21-6-0
4 Galena High School
Reno, NV
7-6-0
5 Reno High School
Reno, NV
10-6-0

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