Coyotes grind out win over Rams |

Coyotes grind out win over Rams

Anthony Gentile
Lake Tahoe sophomore Jack Payne goes up for a header against San Francisco’s Gian Marco Zancanaro in the Coyotes’ non-conference match with the Rams on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The Lake Tahoe Community College men’s soccer team needed a result in the worst way on its home field Saturday, Sept. 10. And the Coyotes found a way to get it done.

Lake Tahoe delivered a 1-0 win over City College of San Francisco (Calif.) on Saturday, locking down defensively after scoring midway through the first half. The Coyotes produced a gritty victory to remain unbeaten on their home pitch and hand the Rams their first loss of the season.

“We’re getting our confidence again — we have to get that momentum back,” Coyotes sophomore Miguel Diaz-Ortiz said.

In a match with few scoring chances, Lake Tahoe (3-3-3) capitalized when given the opportunity. The Coyotes scored the only goal of the match in the 24th minute, when an attacking sequence led to Diaz-Ortiz sliding a shot into an empty San Francisco net from 10 yards out.

A run from Dalton Rice led to LTCC’s goal, as the freshman broke free in the attacking third and commanded the attention of three Rams defenders. A deflection left the ball at Diaz-Ortiz’s feet, and he calmly put it away to make the score 1-0.

“I saw Dalton running with the ball, and I just followed him — I ran by his side in case he was going to lay it off,” Diaz-Ortiz said. “As soon as he took that touch and it came off the defender, it was just all glory.”

The midfielder’s first goal of the season was all Lake Tahoe needed in a hardfought victory. The Coyotes withstood a consistent attack from San Francisco (2-1) in the second half, and thwarted a pair of corner kicks and a free kick in the last two minutes to produce their fifth shutout of the season.

“You definitely could see the fatigue, but all the players that played 90 minutes [the day before] stepped up,” Rice said. “We worked through it and got the win.”

Saturday’s victory took on greater importance for Lake Tahoe on the heels of a painful loss the day before. The Coyotes let a two-goal lead slip in a 3-2 defeat at Santa Rosa Junior College (Calif.) on Friday, Sept. 9, a match that ultimately got away.

“After yesterday’s loss, it was a really big game today,” LTCC sophomore Miguel Prieto said. “We needed that win big time.”

Saturday’s match capped a season-opening stretch of nine games in 16 days for the Coyotes, during which they’ve played to three of each result. Lake Tahoe concludes non-conference play on Friday, Sept. 16, at De Anza College (Cupertino, Calif.), then has 11 days off before starting its Golden Valley Conference slate.

“It’s been really tiring, but I’m glad we’re doing it,” Prieto said. “As challenging as it is, it’s getting us ready for conference and definitely going to get us ready for playoffs.

“It’s starting to click now.”

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