Lady Vikes seeing soccer double with new coaches |

Lady Vikes seeing soccer double with new coaches

Michael Traum

It’s true team coaching. South Tahoe High’s girls soccer program will have its third coach in three years when the season opens this weekend at Elko. But the difference this year, beyond the positive attitudes and playing-together philosophies, is that the girls will have two new faces staring back at them.

Sasha Adler-Turk, 22, and Julia Peyser, 27, take over for Jerry Foster, who left after one year in which he steered the Vikings to a fourth-place Division II finish and first-round playoff loss. Foster had replaced Jim Clapp, who guided a 4A zone title team, the previous season.

Adler-Turk and Peyser will share the responsibilities of coaching both the varsity and junior varsity squads, along with aiming the girls back toward the playoffs.

“This is a pivotal year for this program. These girls have a chance to let go of the past and start with a fresh start,” Adler-Turk said. “They all love the game of soccer. I think that, plus the commitment we put into it, can really be reflected in the (win-loss) record. There are certain tough teams and we’re going to face them head-on.”

Added Peyser, “They’re frustrated and don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what their experience has been like before. But I can say they’re coming in with an open mind and expect a lot of us. We’re hoping to fulfill that for them. This program is for them. Their feedback and what they’re thinking and feeling is what it’s all about.”

Both coaches played collegiately: Adler-Turk at Mill’s College in Oakland and Peyser at California University in Pennsylvania. They hope to inspire the Vikings with their experiences – both on and off the field.

“Something about soccer is magical. The way it’s a metaphor for life – how wonderful it is to be outside running on a field, how challenging it is and how exciting it is to play,” Adler-Turk said. “I leave it up to them to define their identities through the sport – on the field as players and off the field as young women. I’m here mostly as a guide for that and encourage them to be goal oriented.

“The fact that Julia and I are both young women is definitely an asset. These girls will see young women in control, who know what they’re doing and who have no fear of projecting their voices and saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing this right now. Let’s go for it.’ I hope it’s inspiring and motivating to them.”

The Vikings have been practicing for two weeks in preparation for the league opener at Elko. The team is focusing heavily on drills and how they want to attack.

“(We’ll do) a lot of work off set plays – corner kicks, indirect and direct kicks and throw-ins. A lot of times an opposing team is not prepared and it’s a great time to take advantage of that, if our girls are on their toes and ready to grab that ball and go. As long as the offense and defense are united, we’re going to have a killer time,” Adler-Turk said.

South Tahoe returns seven players: Sarah Junge, senior; Robyn Linder, senior; Jaime Hansen, senior; Christie Higman, senior; Ali David, senior; Kelly Huck, junior; Jenn Hamm, junior; and Katy Orr, junior. A total of 43 girls came out for the two teams.

Peyser said she likes what she’s seen so far, “I expect a great team and everyone to give 100 percent. We have so many girls. But we’re handling it pretty well. All the drills are in order and we’re having a good time.”

“We’re getting used to them,” added Hansen. “They’re pretty enthusiastic and seem like they want to be out here with us. But it’s new and they’re incorporating some new things. It just depends how well we can function as a team. We have a lot of good individual players; we just have to learn how to work together.”

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