LTCC coyotes men’s soccer surging, tied for GVC lead
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Lake Tahoe Community College men’s soccer team continued its resurgence Friday afternoon by piling up the goals and pummeling last year’s league champion Lassen 8-3 on the South Shore.
After some early-season bumps in the road, the Coyotes are unbeaten in their past five games and have jumped into a tie atop the Golden Valley Conference.
Lake Tahoe lost a handful of players to academic ineligibility right before the season began so many freshmen from a stocked recruiting class were forced into action a little earlier than head coach Nicholas Arbelaez wanted.
“We have battled the most adversity in my four years here and finally have seemed to be putting it together over the last few weeks,” Arbelaez said. “Losing five sophomore starters one week before the season started, we’ve had to rely heavily on our freshman, which isn’t a bad thing, but definitely has made this even more challenging. I’m glad we are starting to play well and hitting our stride now.”
Losing starters combined with a grueling pre-league schedule resulted in the Coyotes losing four of their first five games. Nine of their first 11 games were against playoff teams from a year ago, including two semifinalists.
But they figured out the solution and have gone 6-1-1 in their last eight games and during that stretch surrendered just four goals. Lake Tahoe is 7-5-2 overall and 3-0 in the GVC.
Against Lassen, Josh Corlett, from England, and Las Vegas native Niko Dongmann each scored twice to lead the attack. Jorge Medina, of Sparks, Jose Lopez, of, Las Vegas, Melvin Mendez, of Los Angeles, and Juan Garcia, of Los Angeles, each added single goals.
The Coyotes took just 43 seconds to find the net and take the lead. Garcia scored off assists from Medina and Dongmann.
Three minutes later, Medina made it 2-0 from point-blank range off an assist from Corlett.
Lassen scored in the 10thminute but the Coyotes end the half with goals from Lopez and Dongmann to lead 4-1.
Lake added three goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half and it was game over.
After 14 games, Medina leads the state in assists with and has 21 overall points according to the California Community College Athletic Association website, Lopez with seven goals and 10 assists is eighth in the state in overall points (26) and Corlett has six goals and eight assists for 20 points.
“Jorge, Jose and our goalkeeper Francisco Cazares have relaly stepped up,” Arbelaez said. “And Niko, Brandon (Estrada), of South Lake Tahoe, Julio (Loera), of South Lake Tahoe, Joel (Garcia), of Truckee, and Guillermo (Perez), or Carson City, have been some of the freshman of note that have played a great role in helping us get back on track and in control of our own destiny.”
And that destiny begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, against league rival and nemesis Feather River (6-4-1, 2-1 GVC) on the South Shore.
Feather River had a similar resume as Lake Tahoe last year and was awarded a postseason berth instead of the Coyotes.
GVC standings (as of Oct. 8): Lake Tahoe 3-0, Butte 3-0, Feather River 2-1, Siskiyous 1-2, Redwoods 0-3, Lassen 0-3.