Vikings advance to regional soccer finals | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Vikings advance to regional soccer finals

Jeremy Evans

CARSON CITY – For about 30 minutes Thursday night, the Douglas High boys’ soccer team looked nothing like the team South Tahoe faced during the regular season.

Not only were the Tigers all sporting Mohawks, they came out hard, possessing an intensity not seen in two previous lopsided losses to the Vikings.

“We knew they were going to come out hard,” said STHS boys’ coach Chris DeLeon, whose team outscored Douglas 9-2 in the regular season. “They’ve been here before. After what happened last year, I knew they were going to play with a lot of heart.”

As determined as Douglas was in the first half to advance to a second straight zone title game, they eventually got reacquainted with South Tahoe’s Milton Montoya and Ernesto Mosqueda.

Montoya scored in the 32nd minute to shift the momentum, then Mosqueda added one of his trademark headers in the 46th minute as the Vikings went on to beat the Tigers 3-0 in the Northern 4A Regional Tournament semifinals at Carson High School.

South Tahoe (16-1-3) advances to the zone championship game for the third time in four years. Douglas finishes the season 17-5-2.

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The Vikings will play on Saturday against High Desert Division regular-season champion Elko, which scored in the final minute to beat Carson 1-0 in the other semifinal Thursday. The championship game is set for 4 p.m. at Carson.

The Tigers, who returned nine players from last year’s zone runner-up squad, figured they had a chance to get there again this year. But, once they got down, they couldn’t match South Tahoe’s offensive prowess.

“I thought we controlled the game in the first 25 minutes and created some chances. But when they scored, the wind got taken out of our sails a little bit,” Douglas coach Milko Vasquez said. “We just went up against a team that has some special players. Ernesto Mosqueda and Montoya, they are very talented. How they flow and their free spirit, you don’t even have to coach them.”

While Montoya and Mosqueda were at their usual best, it was the South Tahoe defense of Ismael Mora, Ian Rice, Marty Harris and Matt Thompson who were again the unsung heroes. Along with goalie Alfredo Solorio, the Viking defense posted its second straight shutout in the playoffs.

South Tahoe beat McQueen 5-0 in the first round last Saturday and its defense was again up to the test against Douglas and its dangerous striker David Sturgess. Even though both South Tahoe and Elko have qualified for next week’s 4A state tournament, the Vikings don’t expect a letdown against the Indians.

“Saturday’s game is important,” Mora said. “I want to play the second-best team from Vegas and hopefully win state. Douglas was working really hard up there, but coach told us not to stab and we didn’t. We did a good job.”

The Douglas defenders also did a good job on Montoya and Mosqueda, but the senior strikers eventually broke through.

In the 32nd minute, Rice crossed a ball into the box from the right side that wasn’t cleared by the Tigers. Montoya ran onto the loose ball, took a touch and placed a shot past Douglas goalie Chris Aguilar and into the side netting for a 1-0 lead.

Montoya nearly scored two more goals before halftime, including a volley from 25 yards out in the 40th minute that ricocheted off the cross bar. But it was his assist a few minutes into the second half that dashed Douglas’ hopes for a comeback.

In the 46th minute, Montoya collected a short corner kick from Erick Sandoval, then sent a swerving ball into the box where Mosqueda headed a shot past Aguilar for a 2-0 lead. It was Mosqueda’s 28th goal of the season.

It was vindication for Mosqueda, who, two minutes earlier, scored on a bicycle kick but had it negated because of an offsides call. In the 78th minute, the Vikings put the game away for good.

Substitute Derek Simon chased down a long ball out of the back and his pressure caused a poor clearance from the Douglas keeper near the top of the box. As the ball trickled into the midfield, Eder Vazquez, another substitute, chipped the keeper and scored to make it 3-0.

“Our defense won us the game tonight,” DeLeon said. “Yeah, the goals and chances were there. But Ismael Mora, Ian Rice, Marty Harris and Matt Thompson, to get a shutout in a semifinal, they played great. Our subs were crucial to this win also. We had guys come in when other guys were getting quite a bit of cramps out there. Our subs really stepped up for us.”