However, this year the format is a little different. Instead of Damonte Ranch hosting all three rounds of the tournaments, the higher seeds will host opening-round games.
That gives the Spanish Springs boys and girls teams a chance to defend their home field in playoff action.
While the Cougar boys and girls both have beaten their quarterfinal opponents during the regular season, the boys had a much easier time of it.
Spanish Springs, the boys No. 2 seed from the High Desert League after accumulating 30 points with a 9-4-3 record, will take on No. 3 seed Damonte Ranch (7-7-2) Monday at 5:30 p.m.
The last time the two teams met, the Cougars knocked off the Mustangs 4-2, but the game had been tied at 2-2 early in the second half. Sophomore Julio Soto notched a hat trick to lead the home team in the win.
SSHS boys soccer coach Rob Moreland doesn’t expect to change much from the last time the teams played. The defense still needs to be aware of the long balls over the top because the Mustangs play a little bit of a kickball style.
“Our guys are pumped up big time. We’re right where we need to be,” Moreland said. “We haven’t played our best game because I think that is yet to come. We squeaked out the Hug game, so now everyone is saying maybe it’s our year because of what happened. We just have to keep fighting all the way through.”
For the SSHS girls, they must face one of the perennial powers. When No. 2 Spanish Springs (8-4-4) met No. 3 Galena (8-5-3) early in the season, the Purple and White needed two goals by Laura Voss in the final 18 minutes to secure a 2-1 home victory.
“We’ve been working on a few things and we’ve watched them play lately, so we kind of have some ideas on how to get some offense and hopefully that will work,” SSHS girls soccer coach Mike Faker said. “The big thing is we’re playing better this time of year than we were the first time, so that’s going to be our big advantage. I don’t think we were playing very well when we played them the first time.”
The good news for Spanish Springs is Voss and Kayla Schlitenhart, who were banged up in recent games, will be ready to go Tuesday for the 5:30 p.m. kickoff.
Faker also expects home-field advantage to come into play for his team.
“It’s super nice. They have a nice field, too, so it’s okay playing there, but I just like playing on nice grass. I think the kids are a little more comfortable playing at home, so that might play to our advantage, too,” Faker said.
Also joining Spanish Springs in the playoffs this fall is the Reed girls soccer team.
The Raiders (6-6-4) weren’t able to secure a home game by finishing third in the High Desert League. Instead, they will travel to Minden to face a Douglas (12-2-2) team that was two points out of first place. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The Reed girls will have to pull out something special in order to knock off the defending Northern state champs.
The Blue and Gold opened the season to a 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the Tigers.
“There’s no doubt about it we’re going to have to have the best game we’ve had all year,” Reed girls soccer coach Jason Saville said. “That still might not be enough. I know the girls are challenging themselves and want to prove that even if they don’t end up with the ‘W’ that they’re not 6-0 worse than they are.
“Douglas has a lot of quality players who have been playing together for a long time. We have about four kids who played together before. It’s taken awhile to build the chemistry. If we can put it together one night, we’ll take our chances. We’re going to leave it all on the field, I know that much.”
Note: We’ll have a Sparks boys soccer playoff preview in Sunday’s newspaper which will look at the Northern 3A regional tourney.