Reloading or rebuilding? STHS isn’t sure
South Tahoe High’s route to the Nevada 4A state championship last year was hyped by offense but actualized with defense. Although the Vikings had Nevada’s third-highest goal scorer in state history (Ernesto Mosqueda, 30 goals), their defense only allowed one goal in five postseason games.
This year team’s will also have a defensive feel to it, though the Vikings don’t have much of a choice.
“To be honest, we still have some work to do,” said senior goalie Alfredo Solorio. “Offensive is our biggest concern. We’re probably going to win with our defense, unless somebody else steps it up.”
In addition to finding a goal scorer, South Tahoe must replace 16 seniors from last year’s team, including Mosqueda (Sierra League offensive player of the year), Jamie Estrada (Sierra League midfielder of the year) and Ismael Mora (Sierra League defender of the year). And for the third straight season, the Vikings must also replace a double-digit amount of seniors, though the vacancies have done little to hurt the program.
Since 2002, South Tahoe has gone 80-4-7 (.880), won two state titles, three regional championships and four consecutive Sierra Division championships. If another deep postseason run is in store, the Vikings will need big seasons from Solorio and defenders Ian Rice and Matt Thompson.
“The talent is there, but the knowledge of the game is a little immature,” said third-year coach Chris DeLeon, who has compiled a 37-3-4 record in his first two seasons at STHS. “There are only a few core players that have a good understanding of how coach Ed (McClain) and I like to play. As far as scoring goes, we’re just going to have to figure it out.”
Senior midfielder Ian Chandler is the only other starter back from last year’s team, which won the school’s second state soccer title in three years. Despite the holes all over the field, DeLeon expects Andres Muñoz to replace Mora at sweeper and seniors Corey Volkmar and Josh Boles to ease the loss of Estrada.
However, losing forwards Mosqueda and Milton Montoya was a major blow since the duo was responsible for more than 75 percent of the team’s goals in 2005. If the season were to start today, the Vikings aren’t even sure who would start at forward.
“Someone out there might surprise us returners, but we’re looking to fill positions,” Thompson said. “I haven’t seen anything too special yet from anybody who isn’t a returner. I don’t know what to expect from this team. Right now, I think we just should focus on the Galena Tournament and take it one game at a time.”
One offensive player with star potential is Brian Garcia, who coaches and teammates call “Chino.” Scoring duties could also fall on Anthony DeMarta, who was on the JV team last year, and David Schue, who is recovering from injury.
The Vikings may have question marks on offense, but they shouldn’t expect sympathy from the rest the Sierra League. The likely suspects to end South Tahoe’s Sierra Division supremacy are Carson and Douglas, but both programs were also hurt by graduation.
The Senators return six starters from last year’s team, including all-league forward Enrique Mendoza. The Tigers, who lost to the Vikings in the Northern 4A semifinals last year, return just four starters.
“Whatever the media thinks, whatever the other coaches think, we just go with the flow,” DeLeon said. “We don’t think we are the favorites, especially with a huge graduating year. We’re starting from scratch. Whatever happened last year is for the team that deserved it.
Coach: Chris DeLeon (3rd year)
2005 Record: 19-1-3 (4A state champs)
Starters returning: 4
Starters lost: 7
Opener: Friday at Galena Tournament
Date Opponent Time
Aug 25-26 Galena Tournament TBA
Aug. 30 Galena 3 p.m.
Sept. 6 Fallon 3 p.m.
Sept. 9 Damonte 1 p.m.
Sept. 13 Reno 3 p.m.
Sept. 16 Wooster 1 p.m.
Sept. 20 Douglas 3 p.m.
Sept. 23 Carson 1 p.m.
Sept. 27 No. Valleys 3 p.m.
Sept. 30 Hug 1 p.m.
Oct. 2 North Tahoe 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 Damonte 3 p.m.
Oct. 7 Reno 1 p.m.
Oct. 11 Wooster 3 p.m.
Oct. 14 Douglas 1 p.m.
Oct. 18 Carson 3 p.m.
Oct. 21 No. Valleys 1 p.m.
Oct. 23 Hug 3 p.m.
Note: Home games are in bold.