Ana Paredes drives the ball downfield.
Ana Paredes drives the ball downfield.
On Thursday night, under the lights of Yanni Field, the Pershing County soccer team played its rival school, the Battle Mountain Longhorns. 

Determined to recover from their seven-game losing streak, the Longhorns pulled out all the stops. The game ended in a tie, as neither side scored, despite 80 minutes of battle.

Pershing County now stands at 3-11, overall, and 1-6-1 in the 3A Northern League. 

Battle Mountain also tied Dayton last month. The girls in green walked off with a 0-7-2 record.

In the stands, the Pershing County football team roared every time the Mustangs got a shot on the goal. 

Head football coach Mike Brooks wore a black tutu. Another player disguised himself as Spider-Man. 

The homecoming crowd packed the bleachers, savoring the crisp autumn weather.

Before they had a shot at scoring, the Mustangs had to penetrate Battle Mountain’s defense.

“Battle Mountain plays a quirky, surprisingly effective defense,” said Matuszyk. “They drop six girls on a defensive line and it’s hard to get past them.”

Pershing County’s standouts of the night — Kylee Fuller, Kyle’ Tupa, Ana Paredes and Connie Kersnowski found plenty of through passes. 

“But because of the Longhorns' positioning, it was difficult for our players to get past their girls,” continued the assistant coach.

But Pershing County did get past them – 10 times. Each time they ran into an unstoppable force, Mandy Lofthouse, the Longhorn’s senior goalie. She guarded the goal like a moat filled with crocodiles.

Each time Lovelock got a shot, Lofthouse shut it down. Ten times, she stymied the Mustang’s efforts to score.

She dived after each ball, at times landing on her side and gripping it close to her stomach — determined to squash the Mustang’s offense.

“For most of the game, Battle Mountain did not get the ball to our defense and did not have a single shot on the goal,” said Matuszyk. 

It was the last homecoming game for Tupa, Paredes, Cassidy Burke and Haylie Leavitt. They’ll graduate this spring.

According to MaxPreps, Leavitt leads the 3A Northern in saves — 105 over ten games. No keeper in the league comes close to her record.

On Friday, Pershing County  plays West Wendover on Yanni Field at 3p.m. Lovelock beat the Wolverines (7-1 and 6-0) on their last two go-arounds.

But in high school soccer anything can happen. coach Matt Fuller, Matuszyk and the girls hope for packed stands.