A hat trick for the girls followed by a hard-fought loss for the boys resulted in a soccer split Thursday as South Tahoe hosted Incline.
A Brooke King hat trick helped propel the South Tahoe girls to a 5-1 win, but Incline boys answered back with a 3-2 win of their own.
King of hat tricks
Hat tricks are nothing new for King, who helped lead South Lake to a championship last year, but she collected her first one of the season Thursday.
South Tahoe came out slow but, led by King's scoring, the Vikings turned up the heat in a matter of minutes.
"Incline had a great possession the first five or 10 minutes of the game until we settled in and started playing our game," South Tahoe coach Chris DeLeon said. "We were just patient then, once we got the ball, we transitioned and started playing our game."
Patience paid off when King landed her first goal 13 minutes in. Riley Chapman served up a cross and Brittney Hubberts challenged. When the ball bounced off Incline's goalkeeper, King followed up.
The Vikings picked up point two when Cassidy Jackson passed to Jordyn Dion on the wing and she arched a huge kick up into the net.
Five minutes later, Jackson set up a scoring opportunity again and King seized it, sneaking the ball in the low corner. King now had two goals to her name and the Vikings headed to half with a comfy 3-0 lead.
The game was far from over though and both teams kept the physical intensity going through the second half.
"They were being physical so we were not looking like a bully team out there and that's how they should be playing. They did it well," DeLeon said.
Incline busted up the shutout in the final 10 minutes when Haley Derr crossed a high ball and Elise Nelson rose above the pack to head it in.
"Elise can do it. Elise has done it quite a bit. We actually have a couple girls who can do it when we get the ball to them," Incline coach Tom Canino said.
When the Incline girls had the ball they looked sharp, but they couldn't seem to hang onto it for long.
"I really feel like the difference between our teams is they moved the ball well up and down the field," Canino said. "We moved the ball well for two or three passes then we'd hand it to them."
The South Tahoe girls are now 1-0 in league and 6-1 overall.
Incline boys turn the tide
What Canino hadn't seen from the girls in the first game he got from the boys in the second.
Incline linked passes to maintain possession for most of the first half, setting a fast-paced game.
Erick Rodriguez and Salvador Vargas were a big part of Incline's continual possession.
"Erick Rodriguez was playing left wing and he kind of ate up whoever they put out there," Canino said.
Not surprisingly, Rodriguez found net first with a long cross shot from the wing 21 minutes in.
The Vikings picked up the pace after Incline's wakeup goal. South Tahoe's RoRo Castillo tied up the game with a penalty shot to end the first half of a no-holds-barred game.
"It was a very physical game. Both teams were on each other and for this early in the season it was kind of surprising, but also good because that's what this league is going to bring," South Tahoe assistant coach Bill Spicer said. "This league brings a tough game. Almost every game we go out is going to be tough."
Incline came out just as strong in the second half, but South Tahoe was now on the level.
We have a lot of first season varsity players but I was impressed with the way they came out in the second half," Spicer said. "Really the game could have gone either which way."
Incline scored first. Rey Estrada launched a ball to Kyle Reeves, who tapped it in.
Luis Munoz inched Incline further ahead when his cross kick deflected into South Tahoe's net.
South Tahoe put up a fight on the heels of Munoz' goal driving the ball into the Incline zone. A setup from Austin Williams helped Tim Muller find net to cut Incline's lead to one.
With time running out, South Tahoe battled with everything it had left. It looked like the Vikings had a tying shot when Castillo drove down with two minutes left, but three Incline defenders outmatched him in the corner. The Viking's final chance slipped away.
"We had the chemistry but we didn't use it in the first half," Castillo said. "We'll come back and get them next time."
The teams will meet again in Incline Oct. 11. The South Tahoe boys are now 1-1 in league and 3-1 overall.