Familiar faces lead Viking program
When a team has its third coach in three years, players usually have a difficult time adjusting to the different styles. But the South Tahoe Vikings are in a unique situation with first-year coach Clint Lockhart, who took over the program from Jose Gonzalez.
Lockhart was an assistant to Randy Volkmar in 2004, helping the Vikings to a 9-4-1 record and a berth in the Northern 4A semifinals. This year, Lockhart is the head coach and Volkmar is the assistant, providing what should be a seamless transition for South Tahoe.
“Switching back and forth can be a little bit hard because you are starting over again,” said junior Tess Braun. “But Clint and Randy coached my freshman year, so it shouldn’t be that bad. We have a lot of girls with talent, so it will be interesting to see what we can do.”
Lockhart will have key returners at every position on the field. Senior Ellie Vermillion will start at goalie for the third consecutive season and junior Janelle Perasso will anchor the defense after being named to the Sierra League’s second team last year.
Braun will likely play forward again, while junior Karli Vath is another returning all-league player who is the focal point in the midfield. Since he wasn’t part of the program last year, Lockhart is approaching this season like every position is up for grabs.
The biggest holes were left by Bailey Flood and Cybil Robinson, two attacking-minded players who are now freshman at Manhattanville College, an NCAA Division III school near New York City. Flood gave the Vikings an identity with her hard-nose play, but Lockhart is hoping this year’s team will create its own identity.
“I wasn’t here last year, so I don’t know anything about who started last year and who played last year,” said Lockhart, who was also an assistant under longtime STHS boys’ soccer coach Joe Winters. “This is a brand new year and I think we have enough players to keep the success of the program going.”
While Carson, Douglas and Reno figure to challenge the Vikings for the Sierra League title, South Tahoe’s past two seasons have ended with losses to McQueen in the Northern 4A regional tournament. The Vikings will get an up-close look of the 2006 Lancers when they face each other in the Galena Invitational preseason tournament this weekend in Reno.
“I want to win it all, but our goal right now is to just win the Galena tournament,” said Braun, whose game-winning goal as a freshman lifted STHS to the semifinals. “Whether it’s division or state, I am determined to win because last year we didn’t end on a very good note.”
Volkmar, whose 2004 team lost 1-0 in the regional semifinals to eventual champion McQueen, likes what he sees from this year’s team and is happy to be back coaching again.
“I went into retirement and only stayed there for a year,” said Volkmar, whose son, Corey, is a senior on the STHS boys’ varsity soccer team. “I am pretty excited about the girls we have this year.”
Date Opponent Time
Fri-Sat Galena Invitational TBA
Aug. 29 Galena 3 p.m.
Sept. 5 Fallon 3 p.m.
Sept. 9 Damonte 3 p.m.
Sept. 12 Reno 3 p.m.
Sept. 16 Wooster 3 p.m.
Sept. 19 Douglas 3 p.m.
Sept. 23 Carson 3 p.m.
Sept. 26 No. Valleys 3 p.m.
Sept. 30 Hug 3 p.m.
Oct. 3 Damonte 3 p.m.
Oct. 7 Reno 3 p.m.
Oct. 9 No. Tahoe 3 p.m.
Oct. 10 Wooster 3 p.m.
Oct. 14 Douglas 3 p.m.
Oct. 17 Carson 3 p.m.
Oct. 21 No. Valleys 3 p.m.
Oct. 24 Hug 3 p.m.
Note: Home games are in bold.