With 18 minutes remaining in the match, Reed's Danielle Uptain fired a shot on the SSHS goal. When Cougars goalkeeper Caitlyn Silva pulled the ball out of the net, the assumption was Uptain had tallied the lone goal of the match and given Reed a 1-0 advantage. However, an official said the soccer ball lodged in the net after going through a hole and that it did not clear the goal line, wiping away what looked like a go-ahead goal.
Reed coach Jason Saville was furious after the match, feeling his team had been robbed of a victory against its cross-town rivals. However, after viewing multiple photos of the sequence an hour after the match, Saville admitted officials seemed to have gotten the call right.
"The initial look at the pictures on the camera made it look like a goal, but after getting home, looking at them on the computer and blowing them up, they clearly show the ball going down the outside back of the net," Saville said. "During the game, it looked like ball was inside the back of the net. It looked pretty clear to me both live and when I initially looked at the pictures that it was a goal. But, looking at them again, the ball somehow snuck down inside the net after being on the outside."
The tie leaves Spanish Springs still on top in the High Desert League standings at 6-0-3 while Reed is close behind at 5-1-2.
While the draw still leaves Reed chasing Spanish Springs, Cougars coach Mike Faker was still frustrated in settling for the scoreless deadlock.
"I thought we had opportunities but we didn't capitalize," Faker said. "I felt like we outplayed them most of the match. Reed surprised me. They were better than I expected after just looking at scores."
With 20 minutes to go in the second half, Raiders and Cougars players watched a loose soccer ball bounce free in the SSHS defensive box. That came after Silva and a Reed forward took each other out trying to corral the ball.
Had a Raider got to the ball first, it might have been a winning score, but Cougars sophomore fullback Regan Henry cleared the ball and kept the 0-0 tie in place.
"As soon as I saw the ball pop out, I had to get it out," Henry said. "I was just thinking I need to get it out. That's my job."
The rivals traded late scoring chances.
In the 67th minute, the Cougars sent a through ball into the Reed defensive box, but RHS goalkeeper McKayla Ford scooped it up before a Cougars player could get off a shot.
Then, in the 74th minute, Reed got a direct kick from just beyond the SSHS defensive box, but it was gobbled up by Silva.
The last best chance for either team to score came in the 76th minute. Spanish Springs got off a shot from the side of the Reed defensive box, but Ford caught the shot for another key save.
"I'm still very happy with the way our girls played tonight and how hard they fought," Saville said. "They created opportunities for themselves. They stepped up to the challenge. It looks like over the span of a long season, if our two teams keep doing what they should, it (the HDL title) could come down to the last game of the regular season. That's the way you want it to be."
Spanish Springs has not lost yet through the first month of its fall campaign, but it has narrowly avoided defeat after going scoreless in its last two outings.
"It's a little bit of a concern," Faker said. "Most of the season we've been scoring consistently and even against the better teams giving ourselves plenty of opportunities. We have been practicing a lot on finishing. We'll keep it at it."
Both Reed and Spanish Springs return to the soccer pitch for HDL clashes Saturday. Reed will host Reno at 11 a.m. while Spanish Springs hosts North Valleys, also at 11 a.m.