The White Pine High girls soccer team finished its regular season with a 2-0 win against West Wendover.
The match served as a final tune up as the fourth seeded Ladycats take on top- seeded Whittell in the opening round of the Divisional playoffs on Friday. White Pine will then play on Saturday against either North Tahoe or Incline depending on the outcome of that match in a double elimination tournament to decide the three teams to advance to the State championship.
“We’re focusing in practice and I expect them to do a lot of shooting and making sure they get stuff done,” coach Rebecca Bath said. “It does require more of an offensive tactic. More midfield, more forwards running to create space and get open and setting the tone for the game.
“Our defense is solid. They’re a great group of girls but we can’t, and we have in the past, relied on defense to hold everyone. Midfielders, forwards, it’s time we step up and get the job done.”
White Pine opens its postseason against top-seeded Whittell. And while defeating Whittell won’t be an easy task, Bath said the team has the pieces in place to defeat Whittell and punch its ticket to the State tournament early.
“(I expect) a tough one,” Bath said. “Whittell is strong. Whittell is powerful. Whittell does have the best record in the league right now, so it’s going to be a blood bath. They are strong up front. We do have to contain, but we need to able to switch from offense to defense quickly. We need to start talking and moving the ball up the field. It’s going to be all out.”
Though the tournament is a double elimination format, getting a win off the bat is key, Bath said. A win in the opening round means the Ladycats advance to State. A loss means White Pine faces a must-win match on Saturday to advance. But getting a win in its opening round is also big for another reason, Bath said.
“It’s so important,” Bath said. “We focus game by game, but that first game is so important. The win is necessary, not only for the girls’ confidence level, demeanor and self-esteem but for seeding at state as well….We’re as good as these other teams. We have some great players, some strong players and great assets. ”
The keys to a successful post season run may lie in getting more shots and using the situation in front of them to their advantage instead of waiting for the perfect situation, Bath said. If they can do that, White Pine may find itself making a deep run and contending for the State title in a few weeks.
“If they play to the best of their ability, they’re going to be amazing and be unstoppable,” Bath said. “This is what we have been working on all season long to get to Divisions and State.”