In high school, a year can make all the difference for a sports team, and the South Tahoe boys soccer team was waiting for a year like this.
The Vikings have 16 seniors on a squad of 20, a new game plan from a new head coach and some strong soccer players back on the roster this year.
“We’re looking forward to a very good year,” new head coach Ben Hannah said. “We’re hoping to challenge for a top playoff position, and our goal is to get to state.”
The senior-laden squad took a test run against a younger Fernley team this past Thursday, and the Vikings notched their first win toward that postseason destination. South Tahoe won 12-0.
“Fernley has a young, developing program, but they kept their heart in it,” Hannah said. “They basically had eight or nine freshmen and we have mostly seniors.”
Goals were scored by seniors Derek Caro (3), Isaias Montoya (3), Jesus Martinez (2), David Rodriguez, Tre Charrette and juniors Diego Garcia and Chris Medina. Goalkeepers Kyle Hannah, Alvaro Orozco and Adrian Mariscal split the shutout performance.
All 20 players got time on the field, and all 20 of those players bring something to the table. Singling out key players for the approaching season is near impossible, Hannah said.
With 16 seniors and four standout underclassmen, who earned their spot among the older players, the Vikings have nothing but key players.
“We have leadership at all positions, and experience at all positions,” Hannah said. “We also have a willingness to learn.”
Caro and Austin William are team captains and will set the pace at center mid.
“The seniors bring the team up to a higher level so we’re looking pretty good, at least through these past couple of practices,” Caro said during preseason practice.
Junior Diego Garcia at right wing and sophomore Jesus Vazquez Macias at left back both snagged coveted starting positions among an otherwise senior lineup.
“They’ve earned those positions and they are definitely key players,” Hannah said.
Andres Orozco, who’s a four-year player, will also be a key part of the Vikings’ defense.
Behind the varsity, there is also a deep JV squad feeding into the program with several players Hannah intends to bring up games this year.
“We’re encouraged by the JV squad, but we’ve got 16 seniors,” Hannah said.
UP NEXT: The Vikings played in Truckee on Tuesday. Check online or the Friday’s edition of the Tribune for results. The boys will host their first home game against Lowry at 1 p.m. on Saturday.