Different opponents. Same results.
The South Tahoe soccer teams faced different schools in regional quarterfinals, but both pulled out the win Wednesday. The girls led the way with a commanding 8-1 win over Dayton, while the boys fought to the final minutes for a nail-biting, 4-2 win against Lowry.
Both teams are now one win away from earning an automatic trip to the state championships in Henderson, Nev. Both teams are also facing single elimination as they continue their playoff push.
With state on the line, the boys and girls will make an eight-hour trek to Elko to finish this in the final rounds of regionals today and Saturday.
Lady Vikings dominate quarterfinals
The reigning state champions left no doubt which team would be advancing when they stepped on the pitch Wednesday.
It took less than 30 seconds for Jordyn Dion to fire off South Tahoe's first shot on goal. Dion's was the first of many.
"We had a lot more shots on target this game than a lot of the game this season," Vikings coach Chris DeLeon said. "That was definitely one thing we've been working on is getting shots off and keeping the goalie on their toes."
The girls seemed to be thinking as one Wednesday. Their quick touches and sharp passes made keeping a beat on the ball nearly impossible.
"Our passes definitely had a purpose instead of just going blindly to someone," DeLeon said. "They were also first to the ball most of the time."
They commanded Dayton's backfield, and Brittany Sanchez found the net first with an assist from Sarah Higginbotham. Just like that, South Tahoe led 1-0 less than three minutes in.
Brianna Carroll struck soon after. The speedy senior drove the ball straight through the heart of Dayton's defense off an assist from Brooke King with 26 minutes left in the first half.
The assist was the first of three for King. The senior knew just when and where to deliver the ball to her teammates.
The goals piled on quickly after that.
Higginbotham slammed a cross shot from the wings into Dayton's net from about 20 yards out.
The Carroll-King combination was up next. Carroll tapped in her second goal of the night off another assist from King.
The girls now led 4-0, but there was still 15 minutes left until halftime and they weren't done.
Jensen Smith added the final first-half goal with a free kick that arched perfectly over Dayton's wall of defense straight into net.
Now leading by five, the Vikings mixed things up in the second half. This meant pulling goalkeeper Alejandra Orozco to the frontlines.
"Usually our defense stays on top of it. They play really well so I end up just standing there," the goalkeeper said.
Orozco welcomed the chance to get out of goal where the only action she had seen thus far was one easily smothered shot on goal. Turns out the goalkeeper is not too shabby on offense. She served up one assist, although jokingly remarked after the game that it probably looked like she was running in circles out there.
Sanchez turned Orozco's assist into a goal about four minutes into the second half giving the Vikings a 6-0 lead.
Before the night was through, Smith showed off her kicking range once again. The sophomore dropped in another free kick goal from about 35 yards out to make it 7-0.
The girls will face Truckee in the semifinals Friday in Elko. Truckee and South Tahoe girls met twice this season and both games ended in a tie.
"They're really good at possession of ball and control. So it's going to be a good game," DeLeon said. "Too bad we have to go all the way to Elko for two lake teams to play each other, but so be it."
Boys win with unity
It was hard to tell who was who as the boys filed onto the field with bleached blonde hair, but that was the point. They planned to play as a unit and the blonde hair is a playoff tradition that drove that point home Wednesday night.
Playing as a unit, the boys were one step ahead of Lowry all night. The Vikings used crisp passes to fully take advantage of every inch of the field.
"We all played together and that's what it takes for a team to win," Vikings' David Rodriguez said.
Freshman Jack Kixmiller netted the first goal for the Vikings 16 minutes before the half. Gustavo Yanez sent in a huge cross from the wings and Kixmiller snuck right up the middle of Lowry to follow it in.
Lowry tied the game up, however, when the ball was deflected into South Tahoe's goal during a defensive scuffle.
No matter because Ozzy Rosas made goals look easy a few minutes later.
Rosas dropped an enormous shot from 45 yards out that slanted perfectly at the last second into Lowry's goal.
"I didn't know I was even going to score. I just thought it was going over," Rosas said. "I didn't expect it to go in."
The goal stunned everyone on the field and gave South Tahoe an extra boast of momentum going into the second half.
But it was Jesus Martinez who gave South Tahoe the go ahead goal with 12 minutes left in the game. Marinez drew Lowry's goalkeeper out and slammed a cross shot into the net to give the Vikings a 3-2 lead.
Now South Tahoe just needed to hold on through the final frigid minutes. The defense staff of Rosas, Andres Orozco, Christian Navarro and Jesus "Chuy" Vasquez delivered.
"Our defense is playing hot right now, and they're all underclassmen," coach Bill Spicer said.
With the defense impassable, South Tahoe was able to add one goal for insurance purposes.
Rodriguez blasted in a penalty shot with eight minutes left on the clock, and the Vikings knew they had made it through to semifinals.
"I didn't even think about it. I just put it in the net," Rodriguez said.
The boys will meet Sparks in the semifinals in Elko on Friday at 3 p.m. South Tahoe dropped both games against Sparks in the regular season.
"They're a good team and it's going to be hard to beat them, but we can do it if we work as a team," Rosas said.