Avalanche ends title search at home
Throughout the spring and summer the South Lake Tahoe Avalanche has been knocking on the championship door.
They finally busted through by winning the Come Up for Air championship on their home turf Sunday at the Field of Dreams at South Tahoe High.
Their dreams came true when Corey Volkmar blasted in the game-winner with four minutes remaining for a 2-1 championship win over Chino Hills of Southern California in the boys U-10 division.
“They’re riding a cloud right now and I don’t think they’ll come down for a couple of days,” said Avalanche coach Ed McClain. “We’ve had two second-place finishes at Davis and Pacifica, so to have this win and championship is great for the kids.”
For most of the final it looked as if P.J. Bacon’s first-half penalty kick was going to be enough. But with 10 minutes remaining the Chino Hills Champions scored the equalizer.
But the Avalanche wasn’t to be denied as the winning goal came six minutes later.
“It’s a great bunch of kids who is very dedicated. We’ve been together for two years and they’ve been practicing all winter long indoors and then travelling to these different tournaments,” McClain said. “It’s great because these Southern California teams play a high caliber of soccer and they have more kids to pool from down there. It’s awesome to play up to that level and still be successful.”
The Avalanche, which tied twice in their six tournament games, advanced to the finals with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over the Chino Hills Venom in the morning semifinals. David Schue booted in both Tahoe goals.
“Their coach said they’d played a half-dozen tournaments this summer and had won all but one. For us to beat a team of that caliber is phenomenal,” McClain said.
Avalanche goalkeeper Ian Rice kept Chino from scoring and only allowed three goals during the entire tournament.
“It’s a really hard position and an extreme amount of pressure for a 9- or 10-year-old, but he really stepped up and played great,” McClain said.
Rice and Volkmar shared the team MVP honors, according to McClain.
Other players contributing to the Avalanche’s title were Conor Freeman, Conner Alexander, Matt Thompson, Josh Justus, Danny Suarez, Scott Salazar, marty Harris, Stephen Yarrow and Michael Anstett.
Two other South Shore teams advanced to Sunday’s semifinals.
The South Lake Tahoe Galaxy finished third in the U-14 boys division and the Netrippers placed fourth in the U-14 girls class.
Coordinating and accomodating 69 teams for three days took a monumental community effort.
“It takes a lot of volunteers to make a tournament of this magnitude happen. Everyone in Tahoe pooled together to make it happen. It was a very competitive tournament, and it’s great to have this competition available to our kids,” said Linda Thompson, of the Come Up for Air Tournament Committee.
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