As one of the eight seniors on the Raiders squad, it's very important for Kayla Gomer to go out on top, but she also wants to experience a third state crown for her teammates' sake.
"It's definitely awesome just to be a part of that. I'm looking forward to it because that's our goal for this year," Gomer said. "I think we're a lot more close-knit than we have been in the past. It's definitely awesome to be part of this team. For me it's better to see them succeed rather than me succeed."
Gomer didn't start on varsity her freshman year, but she did see time on the field as a defender. Her big moment in her first season came in the final game of the fall when she was the only Raider to make her penalty kick in a shootout loss to Galena in the state semifinals.
It was foreshadowing of what Gomer would accomplish as a junior, her second year as a starting Reed midfielder.
After 110 minutes of scoreless action, last year's state championship went down to the final kick in a shootout and Gomer delivered the game-winner in the high-pressured situation against South Tahoe.
"She's one of those players any coach would love to have because she's always trying to get better," Reed girls soccer coach Jason Saville said. "She's positive. She cares more about the team than she does herself. She'll sacrifice herself for the betterment of the team. I don't think I've ever seen her get frustrated or yell or scream in any kind of negative way. She leads by example in terms of her work ethic.
"We've had some players in the past work as much as her, but I've never seen anyone work harder than her. The best compliment I can give her is I think she's a better person than she is a soccer player."
That's saying a lot considering last season's High Desert League Midfielder of the Year is currently the league's leading scorer.
Through 10 games, Gomer has 14 goals and six assists and has really come on since the Raiders were upset at home by Reno in late September - their first league loss since the final regular season game of 2005.
"We can't get cocky during the year," Gomer said. "Sometimes trials come along and we have to make sure we become stronger as a team, so we can overcome those trials and be able to become even better soccer players and a better soccer team."
In the past three games following the loss, Reed has combined to beat North Valleys, McQueen and Elko by a 13-1 margin and Gomer has 10 of the 13 goals and assisted on two others. More importantly, the Blue and Gold has climbed into first place of the HDL, one point ahead of Spanish Springs despite playing one less game than the Cougars due to a bye last weekend.
Like their Rail City rivals to the North, the Raiders also benefit from having a pair of sisters.
"Being an only child, I don't really know about that instinctive eyes at the back of your head type thing. But they have that special chemistry and bond," Saville said. "They know where each other is making a run. They can play the ball to each other almost blind folded."
It's not just a "sisterly bond" theory either. The connection between the Gomer sisters is translating into a big part of Reed's offense whether Kayla is playing in the middle or up front with Kelsey. The duo has hooked up on 10 of Reed's 29 goals this year.
Of Kelsey's team-high 10 assists, eight have gone to her sister, while Kayla has returned the favor on half of Kelsey's goals.
"It's great. It's just chemistry," Kayla Gomer said. "We spend every minute together. We kind of just have it. We try to make each other go hard everyday in practice."
Some colleges on the East Coast showed interest in Gomer, but she turned down their offers because she wanted to stay closer to home. She said she'll hear back from other more local schools by the end of the month about whether or not they want her.
Gomer, a two-time first team all-leaguer, is one of three captains with Karina Espinoza and Emily Good and continues a long line of Raider captains Saville enjoyed having on the team.
"She's not the most vocal girl, but that's how most of our captains have been from Ashlie Brown, Janay (Stevens) and Tiffany (deVries) to Kayla this year. They lead more by example and being positive and not getting down on people who make mistakes," Saville said. "She always wants to do what's right. She and some other captains organize some stuff off the field that helps the girls get along and help carry each other through what can sometimes be a long and mundane season."
Reed (6-2-2, 6-1-1 HDL) has four games left in order to clinch another league championship before postseason play starts Nov. 1.