South Tahoe soccer closes season in semifinals |

South Tahoe soccer closes season in semifinals

Becky Regan

The Vikings didn’t hang onto their state championship title this year, but regional champs is nothing to hang their head about.

The defending state champions limped into state finals without four key players on Friday. Despite the huge holes in their midfield, the girls put up a fight in an 8-3 loss to Pahrump Valley in the Division I-A state semifinals.

“There’s definitely no reason to hang their head regarding this season because of what we were able to accomplish with the injuries we had,” head coach DeLeon said. “It was going to be a tough game for us obviously, not having those four girls, but to make it this far with the kind of issues we had.”

The Vikings went into the match without captains Cassidy Jackson and Alisa Caro. They were also missing Kelly Colleton and one of their leading scorers Brittany Sanchez, who recorded 15 goals for the Vikings this season.

With the four out, there were some big holes in the Vikings’ middle.

“The midfield is basically like the quarterback of a football team or the setter of a volleyball team,” DeLeon said.

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To fill the holes new girls moved up.

“They really stepped it up,” DeLeon said. “Especially a lot of those substitutions, and the girls we pulled up from junior varsity who have not played with us all season.”

The veterans played all the harder.

Senior Brooke King closed out her high school soccer career with one of her best performances.

The Vikings were trailing 4-1 at halftime when King slammed in a goal in the 49th minute.

“She took on two strong physical players and ended up beating the goalie,” DeLeon said. “It was just a great individual effort by her to get that goal, but by then it was already 5-2 or 4-2.”

Pahrump, the soon-to-be state champions, were playing an extremely physical game. Normally extremely physical is South Tahoe’s speed, but on Friday the girls were playing more timid soccer than normal, DeLeon said.

Maybe it was because so many veteran players were out, or maybe it was because the younger girls were getting comfortable on the field, either way Pahrump took advantage.

The Vikings got out to an early lead.

Desi Benavidez scored within the first 2 minutes on a scramble inside the box. Pahrump’s goalie dropped the ball, and Benavidez was in the right place to knock it in.

Pahrump tied it up 9 minutes in. They then added three more to make it 4-1 at halftime.

Aside from King’s goal, the second half was a similar story.

The Vikings added one final goal when Brianna Carroll took a corner kick. Andi Jo Embry was on the back post and deflected the goal in nice and easy.

“The girls came together at the right time to be able to beat Truckee in the Northern regional playoffs and then to beat Elko,” DeLeon said. “There’s definitely a good core of players for next season. I don’t see them dropping any kind of momentum.”

South Tahoe graduates seven seniors.

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