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Huge turnout has STHS boys brimming with confidence

Steve Yingling / Tahoe Daily TribuneSouth Tahoe High's boys' soccer program is now in the hands of Hugo Lizaola, far right, Bill Spicer, center, and Abel Caro.
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Offseason rumors trumpeting the demise of the South Tahoe High boys’ soccer program became one of those misguided small-town exaggerations.

New head coach Hugo Lizaola was told that he’d be lucky to field one team in the fall. The school’s proud soccer tradition is showing absolutely no signs of going away abruptly. Not with 51 players, including a talented core of returners, turning out for Monday’s season-opening double workouts at the Community Youth Sports Complex.

As a result of the unexpected large turnout, the Vikings will most definitely field a JV team, and outfitting a freshman squad is an outside possibility. Coaches and players are intent on adding to the school’s enviable soccer lore.



And after only one day of workouts, Lizaola served notice to the rest of the Nevada Class 3A that the Vikings aren’t planning to hold back in their new surroundings.

“We’re not backing down if we’re ahead 15-0, 20-0,” said Lizaola, who along with assistant Bill Spicer, has previously worked on the girls’ coaching staff. “I think, and I hope, unless something drastically happens, we’re going all the way.”



South Tahoe missed the postseason in its final two seasons in the 4A ranks, and Lizaola believes the school should still be playing at the state’s highest level.

“We think we deserve to be in 4A, so we have to show them,” said Lizaola, who succeeds Chris DeLeon, who now oversees the girls’ varsity program. “We definitely have the talent. We have the depth on the bench and in the lineup.”

Lizaola credits the bountiful turnout to many team members’ longtime club coach Abel Caro, who has been brought aboard as an assistant coach.

“We thought the transition was going to be pretty hard, but it went pretty smooth,” Lizaola said. “A lot of it’s continuity and a lot of it is (Abel).”

Intense rivalries with Carson and Douglas are now being replaced with new showdowns with Truckee, Incline and Sparks.

“We played North Tahoe before, and we know a lot of guys from Truckee, a lot of kids from club,” said senior playmaker Giovanni Perez. “We’ve played them, and we know they can play, too.”

The matchups between Lake Tahoe schools could become particularly heated. South Tahoe and Whittell will play each other home and away for the first time in school history. In fact, South Tahoe’s home opener is Sept. 7 against the Warriors.

“It will be a little different coming back in, but around the lake we know those kids,” DiGrande said. “At least in this area it doesn’t really matter the division. It’s no different than playing Carson or Manogue. There are a ton of good players. We’ve seen them through club years all around.”

Last year, South Tahoe was eliminated from playoff consideration in its final game of regular season – a 4-3 defeat at Carson. As a freshman back in 2007, DiGrande was a member South Tahoe’s last 4A postseason team, so he understands what it takes to succeed on the pitch.

“Everyone is talking that we have state easy. We have to work like everyone else, no matter what division we are,” DiGrande said.

2010 STHS boys’ soccer schedule

Date Opponent/Site Time

Aug. 27-28 Galena Invitational TBA

Sept. 2 At Incline 5 p.m.

Sept. 7 WHITTELL 5 p.m.

Sept. 14 TRUCKEE 5 p.m.

Sept. 16 DAYTON 5 p.m.

Sept. 21 At North Tahoe 5 p.m.

Sept. 23 SPARKS 5 p.m.

Oct. 5 INCLINE 4 p.m.

Oct. 12 At Whittell 4 p.m.

Oct. 14 At Truckee 4 p.m.

Oct. 19 At Dayton 4 p.m.

Oct. 21 NORTH TAHOE 4 p.m.

Oct. 26 At Sparks 4 p.m.

HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS


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