The Vikings lost both their scrimmages this past weekend, but winning wasn’t really all that important this time around.
Sounds strange, but South Tahoe girls soccer coach Jeremy Evans had a bigger picture in mind.
“It was a tough weekend from a soccer standpoint, but my intention for this trip wasn’t necessarily wins and losses,” Evans said in an email. “It was about starting the process of building our team.”
The Vikings lost their Friday match to Casa Grande 5-0, and their Saturday game against Montgomery 6-0. Despite the losses, the away games were a good opportunity for the new team members to connect.
“You could see the bonding process starting to happen, which is critical for any team’s success,” Evans said.
Physically, however, South Tahoe was outmatched.
“I can honestly say that perhaps only a few girls could’ve played a full 80 minutes had I needed them to this weekend,” Evans said.
Part of that had to do with the heat, which was in the upper 80s or lower 90s, but mostly it just came down to conditioning.
“Our conditioning and practice time this preseason has been restricted because of the smoke. There’s no denying that affected our conditioning,” Evans said. “So it might take us longer to get match-fit this season, but we’ll get there.”
During Friday’s game against Casa Grande, the Vikings trailed 1-0 at halftime. But the physicality of the game caught up with them in the second half as they slipped behind by five.
Twelve hours later, the already-tired Vikings faced Montgomery, probably one of the toughest teams South Tahoe has ever faced.
The physicality of both teams was eye-opening, the coach said. There is a tendency for better teams to take plays off, but that was not the case with either Casa Grande or Montgomery, both of which regularly land players on Division I and II teams.
“Better fitness wouldn’t have changed the outcome of either game, but it certainly would’ve created a situation where the games unfolded differently,” Evans said.
Evans did, however see promising, albeit sporadic, moments of brilliance from his players.
“While every girl played this weekend and did something I liked, overall, Cassidy Jackson had a very good weekend, both from a soccer perspective and leading this team with a positive attitude,” Evans said. “I also thought our center backs, Jensen Smith and Riley Chapman, played courageously and were able to match those girls physically every moment they were on the field.”
South Tahoe goalie Alejandra Orozco also played well despite the intense and constant pressure.
“It might seem silly that I am praising our goalie after getting outscored 11-0 in two games,” Evans said, “but it could’ve been a lot worse had it not been for AO and our center backs.”
UP NEXT: The Vikings are scheduled to host Fernley at 5 p.m. on Thursday at South Tahoe Middle School unless the game is canceled due to smoke.