The Pahrump Valley girls soccer team defeated the Virgin Valley Bulldogs 2-1 on Saturday to win the Nevada 3A southern regional championship.
“I’m just so happy,” head coach Julie Carrington said of the Trojans winning consecutive regional championships. “It has been a long eight years to get to this. To have the team, that, even though they yelled and were a little frustrated, they really are a phenomenal team and really work well together. In the end, no matter what happens, they just shake it off and they’re still friends.”
This is the second year in a row the Lady Trojans won the regional championship. Last season, Pahrump Valley defeated the Boulder City Eagles 2-1 in extra time to win the championship.
This year’s matchup was eerily similar to last year.
Pahrump Valley cruised to the regional championship game by winning their first game of the playoffs by a score of 9-0 against the Cheyenne Desert Shields.
They followed up their first-round shutout with another shutout against the SLAM Nevada Bulls, this time by a score of 5-0 on a chilly evening in Las Vegas.
Saturday’s matchup was much closer than the first two rounds.
Both teams were even during much of the game on Saturday. There was a lot of back and forth play.
The Pahrump defense seemed to be off to a slow start as Virgin Valley was able to get a couple of close chances early.
After being rewarded with a corner kick, the Bulldogs kicked the ball into the box and the Trojans were unable to clear it right away.
Virgin Valley had numerous chances with the ball, including a shot that went off goalkeeper Avery Moore’s leg. After all the chances and commotion they caused around the net, Virgin Valley wasn’t able to get a goal.
In the 31st minute, the Lady Trojans got their chance and they weren’t going to let it pass.
Junior defender Paris Coleman served a free kick to Virgin Valley. After charging out to grab the ball, the Bulldogs goalie misplayed it and the ball went bouncing behind her.
Junior forward Courtney VanHouse was there to tap the ball into the back of the net, giving the Trojans a 1-0 lead.
They would carry the lead late into the second half.
Virgin Valley would take advantage of a Trojans turnover deep in their territory.
The Bulldogs took the ball away on a clear attempt by the Pahrump Valley defense, leading to a breakaway and the tying goal in the 66th minute.
Neither team would be able to add another goal before the full-time whistle and the championship game would go to extra time once again.
Unlike last year’s championship game, it wouldn’t take long for this one to come to an end.
In the ninth minute of extra time, senior forward Adryanna Avena was awarded a free kick deep in Bulldog territory.
On the ensuing kick, the Virgin Valley goalie would attempt to clear the ball, however, the ball wouldn’t go much further than the top of the penalty box.
Avena pulled in the clear attempt, settled the ball, took a dribble and fired a shot to the far post just out of the reach of the stretching goalkeeper for the game-winning goal.
“She was just at the right moment at the right time,” Carrington said of Avena’s shot. “You could see in her turn, it was how she normally does in her turn, she didn’t have the pressure. I couldn’t really tell from where I was, I was watching to see if the rest of my girls were there and all of sudden you look and it flies into the goal.”
Pahrump Valley will head north this week to Dayton High School, the location of this year’s Nevada 3A state championship tournament. Their first-round matchup will be Friday at 2 p.m. against Truckee. Virgin Valley will also head north for the state tournament and will take on the Hug Hawks in the first round.
When I told Carrington that Hug had defeated Truckee 5-1, she was in pure shock. After it set in, she jokingly responded by saying she didn’t know who Hug was because Pahrump Valley is used to playing either South Tahoe or Truckee.
Pahrump’s game against Truckee is a rematch from last year’s first-round matchup in the state tournament where the Trojans came away with a 1-0 victory over the Wolverines.
If the Trojans can get a win, they’ll move on to the championship game Saturday morning to face the winner of Virgin Valley and Hug.
Contact sports writer/editor Danny Smyth at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @the_dannysmyth on Twitter.