Vikings give Elko dose of defense in zone final |

Vikings give Elko dose of defense in zone final

Jeremy Evans

CARSON CITY – Throughout the playoffs, the mantra of the Elko boys’ soccer team was play solid defense, manufacture a goal and win 1-0. Going into Saturday’s Northern 4A Regional Tournament championship game, the Indians had followed it perfectly, recording 1-0 wins in both their first-round and semifinal matches.

South Tahoe’s path to the title game was a little different as it outscored McQueen and Douglas 8-0 in its first two games. Once the Vikings got there, though, they used Elko’s blueprint.

Erick Sandoval’s goal in the 59th minute was all the South Tahoe defense needed as the Vikings beat Elko 1-0 on Saturday in the zone title game at Carson High. It was South Tahoe’s third regional title in four seasons and its third shutout of the 2005 postseason.

“It was a tough game,” said STHS second-year coach Chris DeLeon, whose team spoiled the Indians’ first zone title appearance since 1996. “Elko played with a lot of heart. They had some big, fast players up top, but our defense did it again.”

Both South Tahoe (17-1-3) and Elko (18-5-1) advance to Friday’s 4A state semifinals at Carson High School. The Indians face Sunrise Region champion Chaparral at 4 p.m., while the Vikings play Sunset Region champion Bishop Gorman at 6 p.m.

The semifinal winners will meet for the 4A state championship on Saturday at Mackay Stadium on the campus of the University of Nevada in Reno.

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“We’ve got a decent program for how small a community we have and how remote we are,” said Elko coach Jim Nisbet, whose team lost in the zone semifinals in 2003. “South Tahoe is a very good team. I’m just glad it was a game of skill and not of players being overphysical and fouling. It was an even match.”

Elko’s physical and direct style of play is sure to disrupt either Las Vegas team. After all, the Vikings only had a chance to scout the Indians once before playing them and came away impressed.

“The only chance we had to scout them was against Carson in the semifinals,” said STHS assistant Ed McClain, who was referring to the Indians’ 1-0 win over Carson last Thursday. “We knew right away they were big and strong. They played with a lot of desire and a lot of fire.”

Despite its intensity and being outshot 13-4, Elko stayed in the game against South Tahoe because its goalie Channing Christiansen came up with several key saves.

In the ninth minute, Viking defender Matt Thompson drilled a shot from 35 yards that was destined for the upper corner. Christiansen, though, tipped it out of bounds for a corner kick. South Tahoe held a 12-8 advantage in corner kicks and nearly scored on one before halftime.

In the 30th minute, Sandoval’s corner from the left side eventually was received by Jamie Estrada, whose well-placed shot to the far post was saved by Christiansen. Five minutes later, Ian Chandler’s cross found the head of Josh Boles, whose header was also denied by the Elko keeper.

“I think they have the second-best defense, behind us, in all of Northern Nevada,” McClain said. “They mark really well and don’t give you much room. Their goalie made some big saves.”

However, it was South Tahoe’s Alfredo Solorio who made the save of the match and kept the score at 0-0. In the 36th minute, Taylor Minter’s shot from 25 yards out was headed toward the upper corner before Solorio’s diving save resulted in a corner kick.

Although the Elko defenders kept South Tahoe’s tandem of Milton Montoya and Ernesto Mosqueda in check most of the game, the duo helped create the game-winning goal in the 59th minute.

A clearance out of the back was controlled by Montoya, who slipped by one defender and played a ball for a streaking Mosqueda. Mosqueda, the Northern 4A’s leading scorer with 28 goals, took one touch into the box, then banged a shot off that bounced off the chest of Christiansen.

Sandoval was there for the rebound.

“I didn’t expect him to miss the shot,” Sandoval said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. They were very competitive and played with a lot of heart. But we played with a lot of heart, too.”