A league championship would be the first in the history of the 12th-year school. Spanish Springs tied Reno 2-2 at home in an HDL match Tuesday evening. Reno and Spanish Springs (9-1-2) also played to a draw in their first meeting of the fall, last month at RHS.
"This puts us in a really good spot," Spanish Springs coach Mike Faker said. "Reno is a team that can catch us. They're one of the best teams in our league for sure. Now, tying them a second time, they kind of need us to let one get away. We sit in a pretty good spot. One of our kids' goals from the start was winning our division. This keeps us on track to do that."
Reno looked ready to steal a win Tuesday. The visiting Huskies scored in the 15th minute thanks to an unassisted goal by Ellie Small. Then, in the 36th minute, Morgan Beye used an assist from Small to tally a goal of her own, extending the Huskies' edge to 2-0.
"I thought Reno was better than us in the first half," Faker said. "They put a lot of pressure on us. They got two corner kicks and scored off those two set pieces. Small is deadly and we let her get away. We didn't do our jobs defending.
"Then in the second half, we were the better team. We got a lot of pressure on them. We played really well."
The two-goal advantage was short-lived. A minute later, in the 37th minute, Spanish Springs got on the scoreboard when Alyssa Bertuleit found the back of the net with an unassisted score.
The scoreboard showed 2-1 at halftime and through much of the second half. Reno was unable to score in the final 40 minutes of play and it cost the guests. Spanish Springs did find the scoring column after the intermission. Again, it came on an unassisted goal by Bertuleit. The tying goal came at the 67-minute mark.
Neither team scored in the last 13 minutes of action and the final horn sounded with the 2-2 deadlock intact.
"Alyssa's first goal was a through ball," Faker said. "There was kind of a scrum. The ball got bounced around. There was a bunch of little quick passes. Then we hit a through ball. Alyssa ran to it. Their keeper came out. Alyssa dribbled around her and tapped it in.
"We moved Alyssa out of the middle and up top to the wings. On her second half goal, she beat one of their outside backs, got around the corner and put it inside the outside post. She got the equalizer. In my opinion, she's the best player in the league and she came through tonight."
Spanish Springs has four matches left in its regular season. Two wins in that stretch would lock up a conference crown for the Cougars. Still, Faker said his club has room to improve.
"We play better when we slow down and pass the ball," Faker said. "We get away from that in games once in a while. We'll start to hit a bunch of long stuff. We play so much better when we slow down and move the ball into the offensive third, then find our strikers. That's the biggest thing. Slow down, play to our feet and that's where we're at our best."
The Cougars travel Saturday to play at 1 p.m. against regional power Carson.
At Reed, the host Raiders had no trouble dispatching struggling Hug. Reed scored all five of its goals in a 33-minute span and cruised to a 5-0 romp over the Hawks.
"We had some good possessions, connecting the balls really well," Reed coach Jason Saville said. "We got some kids some good playing time. We didn't have to go for the jugular right away. We had a ton of shots on goal. Their keeper made some saves early, but we were patient and eventually the first goal came. Once the ice breaks a little bit, the floodgates open."
Reed improved to 6-4-2 on the season with Tuesday's triumph.
Sophomore Danielle Uptain got the scoring parade going for Reed. She scored the first two goals of the match. On a corner kick sequence, Uptain scored the first goal thanks to an assist from Kendra Bujnovsky. That came in the 28th minute. Six minutes later, Uptain took a Laura Barrett assist and scored for a 2-0 Raiders edge.
That was the score at halftime but Reed's scoring was far from finished. Devin Switzer scored at the 50-minute mark for the Raiders. Uptain handled the assist duties on that goal.
"Danielle had a great night," Saville said. "She's had some opportunities and been unlucky a couple times. She's a sophomore still learning the game. I've moved her around a lot and that's kind of unfair to her. She hasn't really been able to settle in. But she's taken it in stride and has a good positive attitude and good work ethic. Tonight she came up big for us."
Bujnovsky got in the scoring act when she found the net in 51st minute with an assist from Aubrie Ciesynski. Finally, Ciesynski tallied a goal, unassisted, that came in the 61st minute.
Reed returns to the soccer pitch Friday night when it plays at Damonte Ranch. First kick is slated for 5:30 p.m.