South Tahoe FC U-18 Hawks, U-13 Storm girls soccer teams deliver titles at Sagebrush Start-Up
RENO, Nev. — Five South Tahoe Futbol Club teams advanced to their age divisions’ respective championship games at the Sagebrush Start-Up held April 2-3. The STFC U-18 Hawks and U-13 Storm claimed first place at the event.
The U-18 Hawks, coached by South Tahoe head coach Mark Salmon, defeated the top-ranked team in Nevada, the Sagebrush Lady Nomads, in a penalty kick shootout 7-6 in the championship on April 3. Viking senior Natalie Reber scored the decisive kick for STFC.
In pool play on Saturday, Whittell junior Ali Copsy scored five goals as the Hawks outscored their opponents by a combined 7-1. Then on Sunday, the Hawks clinched a berth in the championship game with a 4-0 win over the Twin Falls Rapids (Idaho) with the help of two goals from South Tahoe senior Desi Benavidez.
In the final, trailing 1-0, South Tahoe sophomore Samantha Frates scored on a 30-yard direct kick to force overtime. In the shootout, keeper and STHS junior Maria Martinez made a key save to force extra kicks.
The Hawks returned to action two weeks later at the Comstock Tournament in Carson City, Nevada. They went 2-1 in pool play before falling 1-0 in the championship game to the Spanish Springs SC Lady Jaguars (Sparks, Nev.) on April 17.
The U-13 Storm, meanwhile, defeated the STFC Tough 2-0 in its championship April 3, capping an impressive run for both local teams at the event. Coached by Brian Hogan, the Storm went undefeated in pool play and outscored their opponents 11-2 before playing their toughest team of the tournament, a fellow STFC club that made an equally impressive run to the title game.
For the Tough — a U-12 team that challenged itself by playing up one division — goalie Lily Perez came up big the entire weekend and saved many certain goals. The team went 3-0 and won its division, benefiting with goals over the two days by Mackenzie Nealis, Jada Moore, Addison Castles and Marley Befu. In the final, the Tough battled and kept it scoreless until the Storm scored two late goals to clinch the victory.
In the U-16 girls division, the Outlaws — also coached by Salmon — finished second in the tournament. They went 2-0-1 in pool play, with South Tahoe freshmen Lillie McGuire’s late goal in Sunday morning’s game securing a berth in the finals. STHS sophomore Lulu Gutierrez had two assists on Saturday. Andrea Vazquez and Alexa Moss also had standout performances for the Outlaws over the weekend.
The U-10 boys STFC Challengers, coached by Francisco Avina, finished second in the tournament. The Challengers finished pool play 2-0-1, outscoring their opponents 13-1 on Saturday, before losing in the final 3-1 on April 3.