Spanish Springs held on to down their High Desert League foe, Reno, after scoring two early goals. Sparks was not as fortunate, dealing with some bad mojo in a 3-1 loss at Lowry.
The first six minutes of Spanish Springs' match with Reno Friday night were highlighted by crisp passing and a grab bag of opportunities. As for the final the final 74 minutes, eh, not so much.
Fortunately for the Cougars they took advantage of the first six minutes, twice, and held on to a crucial 2-0 High Desert League win over its fellow league powerhouse.
After her first promising look at the goal was stopped with a diving attempt in the fourth minute, Audrey Barham's second look, just one minute later, also took an unfortunate bounce for the junior, bouncing off the near post. The missed shot turned into a perfect pass however, ricocheting directly to teammate Sam Ryckebosch, who finished the play to put the Cougars up 1-0.
Two minutes later, Barham fielded a corner kick in the middle of the box and found the back of the net to put the Cougars up 2-0, which was plenty.
Both teams played a physical game that Spanish Springs coach Mike Faker believed affected his team's offensive rhythm. Fortunately for Faker and his Cougars, it appeared to ruin Reno's as well.
"I think at the beginning we settled down and we passed the ball well and it worked for us," Faker said. "Then the game started to get physical and as the game gets physical we get a little more excited… The game kind of just deteriorated.
"I think we all know this a big one."
Spanish Springs improved to 3-0, 2-0 in the HDL and will host Bishop Manogue Tuesday.
If Sparks' girls soccer coach Jerry Miller didn't believe Friday the 13th brought bad luck, he might now.
In a game that Miller characterized as "freaky," the Railroaders committed a handful of handball penalties that played a major role in the team's 3-1 loss at Lowry.
The team's senior captain, Lizbeth Origel, was taken off the field in an ambulance in the second half after taking a kick to the left eye. Miller said he believed Origel "probably" suffered a concussion but had not received confirmation by 8 p.m. Friday night.
One of Sparks' handballs came after a player's glasses were knocked off and as she went to grab them, the ball hit her hand.
"That sort of stuff doesn't just happen," Miller said.
After trailing 1-0 at the half, Sparks' Mellisa Lopez scored her first varsity goal from 25 yards out to knot the game at one. But 12 minutes later a Sparks handball warranted a Lowry free kick from just outside the goal box that found the back of the net.
After Origel and a few other Sparks players left the game with injuries, Miller said his team let up a little. They let up enough to allow the third goal in the waning minutes on yet again another handball. This time the kick was from inside the goal box allowing a free kick that snuck past the goalie.
Miller said that despite the defeat, he was pleased with his team's performance and realized it was simply a strange night for his squad.
"We actually outplayed them for most of the game…" Miller said. "We had more possessions and more opportunities but it was kind of a freaky game. "
Now 1-2, 1-1 in the High Desert League, Sparks hosts Fernley Tuesday afternoon.