STHS manages to reload following dream season | TahoeDailyTribune.com

STHS manages to reload following dream season

Jeremy Evans

Now that the South Tahoe High girls’ soccer team completed one of its most impressive season in school history last year, what will coach Clint Lockhart do for an encore in 2008?

Take it a step further, of course, which can mean only one thing: a regional championship.

“I like the talent we have, and I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t duplicate the season we had last year,” Lockhart said. “It’s going to be tough … it’s going to be a challenge, but it’s a goal for our team to get back to the championship game and win it this year.”

While the talent is certainly there for the Vikings to make another deep postseason run, don’t expect them to do it in the same fashion.

South Tahoe averaged more than three goals per game last season, scoring nearly 80 goals and allowing only four. It boasted the Sierra League midfielder and defensive player of the year in Karli Vath and Janelle Perasso, respectively, and also enjoyed the services of standout forward Tess Braun, who led the team in assists.

All three players have graduated – as has the team’s third-leading scorer (Alli Fox) – but don’t feel too sorry for Lockhart.

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STHS returns nearly half of its roster from last year, including its fourth-leading scorer in Cassidy Berg. And except for Perasso, it also returns its entire defense, with Alexis Nunes-Fenley one of the more experienced goalies in the Northern 4A, and all-leaguers Brittany Barcellos and Kelsi Buts forming a solid backline.

Oh, and throw in Shelbi Spicer and Cassandra Diaz – the top two scorers for the undefeated South Tahoe JV team – and there’s reason for optimism.

“We lost a lot of firepower,” Lockhart said. “We’re not going to score as much as last year. We’re going to score some goals, but it would be almost impossible to average three goals per game again. There’s obviously going to be an adjustment, but we can still get the same results.”

Carson and Douglas once again are reloading and will try and knock the Vikings off their perch, while new league member Galena returns nearly all of its key players from last year’s team that failed to make the Northern 4A playoffs but was able to beat several playoff teams at the end of the season.

“We’re pretty much building a whole new team, working with what we have right now, and we’re going to have to step it up even more this year because we have lots of positions open,” Barcellos said. “There is a lot of pressure for us to do well again, but bringing Galena in gives us more competition, which is what we need and could make us more ready for the playoffs.”

While the offensive capabilities might not be there at first, the Vikings expect to bring the younger players along slowly and develop a team concept as the season marches toward the regional playoffs.

“We’re working on teamwork mostly, having the seniors uplift the younger girls, because they weren’t part of the team last year,” Buts said. “We have to support them and help coach them, and if we do that, I think we will be successful.”