Injury doesn’t slow down Vikings in semifinal | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Injury doesn’t slow down Vikings in semifinal

Steve Yingling

Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune After leaving Friday night's semi-final game with a left knee injury, South Tahoe's Milton Montoya came back wrapped and ready for Saturday's championship game against Elko in Reno.

CARSON CITY – Milton Montoya was sitting on the sideline with an ice bag wrapped around his bruised right knee. Bishop Gorman was beginning to put more pressure on a stingy South Tahoe High defense that was protecting a 1-0 lead.

Bishop Gorman had the Vikings right where they wanted them, right?

Hardly.

By knocking out only half of the Vikings’ lethal scoring combination, the Gaels still had to contend with Ernesto Mosqueda. Their containment of Mosqueda ended in the 60th minute when Mosqueda headed in a goal, giving STHS a 2-1 win over Bishop Gorman in a Nevada 4A state boys’ soccer semifinal Friday at Carson High School.

“There was no difference. You had two great teams coming out with nothing but heart and great skill,” said STHS coach Chris DeLeon following his first state tournament victory. “A lot of credit has to go to that team. That is a team that will have to be reckoned with next year.”

A successful penalty kick by sweeper Zac Zaher with 3 minutes remaining made the final seconds a bit uneasy for South Tahoe fans.

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In fact, Zaher got off the final shot near the Viking goal but a tough angle caused him to place his desperation attempt behind the goal, sealing South Tahoe’s second state title game appearance in three years.

Montoya was injured 12 minutes into the match when he was toppled by two defenders inside the Bishop Gorman box. No call was made and Montoya remained face down for several minutes before limping off the field. He tried to loosen up the deep bruise above his right knee by jogging and walking along his sideline, but he gave up hope of playing in the second half and iced the sore area.

The loss of Montoya seemed to motivate the Vikings, who scored moments later. Erick Sandoval cashed in a rebound at point-blank range, giving the Vikings’ first blood at the 13:40 mark.

“It just came off a rebound and I just placed it,” Sandoval said. “Our coaches tell us to keep shooting.”

Defender Matt Thompson and keeper Alfredo Solorio foiled Bishop Gorman’s occasional attempt to net the equalizer. Solorio made a diving stop of a Cody Burnett blast at 15:26 and made a leaping grab out of a crowd on Jeff Reddout’s well-placed corner kick at 30:00. Thompson prevented the speedy Brent Young from getting behind the defense and scoring off Bishop Gorman’s long-ball strategy.

Mosqueda almost extended South Tahoe’s lead to 2-0 but his bicycle kick bounced over the cross bar with 7 minutes left in the half.

South Tahoe had a golden opportunity to take control of the match early in the second half but couldn’t convert a penalty kick. Zaher was called for a blocking foul while marking Mosqueda in the box. P.J. Bacon was awarded the close-range shot but missed it wide left.

Nifty footwork and crossing passes by Mosqueda didn’t result in any scoring, so the Viking star used his head to deal Bishop Gorman’s state title chances a devastating blow. Mosqueda tracked down a high chip shot by Rafael Aguirre and went to the far side of the net with his header to beat goalie Joe Vitale at 58:13.

“It was huge, but we told them not to let down, because they started going into more of a defensive formation, and I said to keep putting the pressure on,” DeLeon said.

Bishop Gorman made the Vikings sweat out to the final minutes.

“Toward the end they were just trying to get it up and get a quick goal in, so it would be a closer game,” Thompson said. “Our defense held together and it worked out.”

Solorio made a diving stop that drew hoots and hollers from South Tahoe fans with 4 minutes remaining but lost his shutout when Bishop Gorman was awarded a penalty kick for a handball with 3 minutes remaining. Zaher beat Solorio to the left side, making the score 2-1.

“We were a little disappointed we didn’t get the shutout, but that’s part of soccer,” Sandoval said. It was the first goal that the Vikings had surrendered in four postseason games.

Afterward, the Vikings huddled and sang at midfield but planned to keep their celebration on the field.

“Right now I just need to go to bed. I’m tired,” Thompson said.