Soccer teams start preseason |

Soccer teams start preseason

Jeremy Evans

The first regular season games of the 2008 season still are weeks away, but the Whittell and South Tahoe high school soccer teams figure their seasons begin today with the start of preseason practices.

STHS, which will compete in a revamped Sierra League that brings perennial power Galena from the High Desert League, begins two-a-day practices today.

The STHS boys reached the Nevada 4A semifinals last season ” their fourth state tournament appearance in the past five years ” but the coaches are stressing that none of that matters.

“We’re expecting to have a young team without a lot of seniors, which is something different for us,” said assistant coach Ed McLain, who was part of the program’s 4A state title teams in 2003 and ’05. “So we will be counting on lots of young players to fill some gaps, but we think they can do it.”

The STHS girls also start practice today and will attempt to defend their Sierra League title from last season. Both STHS teams will participate in the Galena preseason tournament, which begins later this month.

Whittell, meanwhile, also has two-a-day practices starting today.

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The WHS boys finished 10-14-3 last season and were led by Cody Williams, whose 17 goals were the most by a freshman in the program’s history. While optimistic about the players who could be part of this year’s team, coach Steve Maltase is taking a measured approach to the season.

“We have a lot of young guys, so it’s a kind of wait and see type of thing,” Maltase said. “We’re excited to see who shows up, but mostly we’re excited just to get started.”

The WHS girls qualified for the postseason in 2007 and are expected to contend for a state tournament berth this season.