Tuesday's tie leaves Spanish Springs earning the High Desert League's No. 2 seed, and with it, a home game in the first round of the regional playoffs against Galena, Nov. 6. If Reed had won, it would've earned that distinction. Instead, the Raiders will be the HDL's No. 3 seed and travel to face the Sierra League's runner-up, Carson, in a first round regional.
"It's nice to be a two seed, but our side of the bracket will be tough," Spanish Springs coach Mike Faker said.
Both teams wanted the win in the rivalry match. Despite settling for the tie and the No. 3 postseason seed, Reed coach Jason Saville was gracious in defeat.
"They only needed the tie and we needed the win," he said. "We tried to find our opportunities to attack as much as we could. I thought we out-shot them in the first half and unfortunately nothing went in. You have to give them credit. They kept making runs, but we didn't quit. We kept pressing to the very end."
It looked like the Rail City foes might play to a scoreless tie in the second go-round as well. Through 60 minutes of play, they were still deadlocked at 0-0. Spanish Springs broke through first, posting a goal in the 61st minute. Breonna Wood took a shot from the right wing for the Cougars. It deflected off the Reed goalkeeper and squirted away. Cougars midfielder Kiley Diesner chased down the loose ball and knocked it in the net for a 1-0 SSHS advantage.
"It was all going through my head," Diesner said. "This is my senior year. I couldn't go 50 percent to that ball. I had to go all out for it. I saw a Reed girl running at it too. I knew I had to fire it hard, so I nailed it into the corner."
Faker was ecstatic when the Cougars took the lead, but in the end felt his team missed out on other opportunities throughout the match
"We had so many opportunities," the Cougars 13th-year coach said. "I feel like we should've put one more in."
For the next 15 minutes, most prep soccer fans in attendance expected Spanish Springs to leave Reed's east Sparks campus with a win. That wasn't meant to be. The Cougars were called for a foul just outside their defensive box with four minutes remaining in the tightly contested match. The hosts took advantage.
Reed's Kennady Whitehead took the direct kick and drilled a shot that ricocheted off the legs of Spanish Springs goalkeeper, Adriana Pennington. Reed's Vanessa Martinez corralled the loose ball and kicked it into the Cougars' net, pulling Reed into the 1-1 tie in the 76th minute.
In the final minute of play, Reed was rewarded another free kick, this time from the right wing. Whitehead sent a low through ball into the center of the box. No Cougar or Raider could get a foot on it and the ball rolled through the box and out of bounds. The final whistle expired on the clock shortly thereafter.
"We got some weird calls at the end, a bunch that went their way," Faker said. "But it feels like that always happens over here the last two or three years."
Saville said there weren't many adjustments to make in the conference clash, noting his club did everything it needed with the exception of finishing a few more chances.
"We were going into halftime and I was thinking, 'what do I tell the girls we need to adjust?' There wasn't a whole lot," Saville said. "We worked our gameplan. We got a lot of opportunities. We moved the ball well and were aggressive. We just couldn't get that final finishing touch. That's been tough all year, but for the effort and the commitment to the game, I couldn't be prouder of our girls."