Niki Cunningham Sports Editor
ereporter: Bob Nielsen
The U-14 Lassen Arsenal soccer team was back in action Saturday. Comprised of girls from 7 local middle and high schools, plus a couple who have moved away but still play together, Lassen brings together athletes from throughout our community. They faced off against one of the top 10 U-14 teams in Nevada, The Sagebrush Patriots. Minutes before the game, the starting goal keeper was injured in warm ups, leaving the team with no subs for the day.
The game started off at a fast pace, with the Patriots getting a few shots on goal, and Lassen getting a quick counter attack, with Amber Jackson narrowly missing the first goal of the game. After making a few adjustments, the Lassen defense settled in, and Goalie Lexie Stevens came up with some big saves to keep the score knotted at 0-0. However, with Lassen players out of their normal positions, no substitutes, and the Patriots playing the ball precisely, it was only a matter of time before the ball found its way into the back of the net.
About 15 minutes into the first half, the Patriots found a hole in the defense, taking the ball on a quick fun from half field, making a nice touch to the middle, and getting a shot just past a diving Stevens. Lassen recovered well, and andthe defense adjusted to avoid future breakaways. The Patriots kept coming, and found other ways to score. Their second goal came from an outside shot to the far corner, and the third came just before halftime.
Down 3-0 at half, the Arsenal players moved around to meet the challenging offense of the Patriots. The Patriots started pushing forward immediately, but repeatedly found their attackers in an offside position, giving the ball back to Lassen. The defense, led by Kaitlyn Nakanishi, kept the Patriots at bay for most of the half. Time after time, dangerous opportunities were thwarted by good coverage and good team play. Stevens continued to be brilliant in the goal, aggressively protecting her box.
Offensively, Jackson impressed all who watched with her playmaking and ball control. It took the entire Patriots defense to keep her from scoring, as she kept the pressure up throughout the game. Lily Buehler also had a stand-out performance. The Patriots scored two more towards the end of the half, to make the final score 5-0, marking the first time that Lassen has suffered a shutout this season. Lassen played a double header on Saturday, May 7th against a Carson Valley Team, as well as the Patriots sister team. Results were not available at press time.