South Tahoe blows out Douglas, 8-1 |

South Tahoe blows out Douglas, 8-1

Dan ThriftSouth Tahoe High's Noe Estrada soars above Douglas defenders to head the ball downfield in a Sierra Division match Wednesday at South Tahoe Middle School

After being blown out 8-1 by South Tahoe High on Wednesday, Douglas High boys soccer coach Phil Sheridan is convinced the Vikings are the most talented team the Tigers have played this season.

Sheridan, who’s already seen his team lose to Carson 4-0, also said his opinion probably won’t be any different when the Northern 4A playoffs begin in November.

“We just got beat up. They’re really talented and have some great skill,” Sheridan said. “They’re a little more skillful (than Carson) and maybe a little more physical. We knew we were overmatched.”

Actually, the Tigers (1-2-1 overall, 0-2 Sierra League) were barely even in the match. Their only goal came off a fluke direct kick from 60 yards out by Chris Honer in the 68th minute. Honer’s ball landed inside the South Tahoe penalty box and the Vikings’ keeper misjudged the bounce and watched it go over his head and into the goal. That made it 7-1.

Douglas’ only other scoring chance also came in the second half when one its players crossed a ball into the box and South Tahoe’s Mik Gadomski tried to head it away, but instead drilled it into his keeper’s chest. In other words, the Tigers didn’t get a shot on goal the entire game.

“We got a lot of skill and talent on this team, but that doesn’t always win games unless you play as a team,” said Viking coach Joe Winters. “That’s our theme for the rest of the season. We’ve had a really hard time finishing the last couple of games and we’ve worked on that in practice. So it’s nice to see that’s paid off.”

South Tahoe (8-0-1, 2-0-1) put on an absolute clinic, knocking the ball around and creating scoring chances nearly every time it was inside the offensive third of the field. And maybe the scariest part of this game was that Alex Torres, one of the Vikings’ best players, didn’t even play. Winters, who gave an unspecified reason for his absence, said Torres would’ve only played 10 or 15 minutes if he had suited up.

That was just as well for Douglas, which had a hard enough time stopping the Vikings who did play.

Enrique Avina opened the scoring in the eighth minute off an assist from Noe Estrada. Corey Vermillion scored on a breakaway four minutes later to make it 2-0. Leon Abravanel, a member of the ODP Region IV team, scored the next two goals and both came within three minutes of each other. Fabian Perez’ goal in the 35th minute gave the Vikings a 5-0 halftime lead.

“We just gotta play soccer,” Sheridan said. “It doesn’t matter who if we play like that because we won’t beat anybody. We just had a lack of experience, the lack of knowing how to play the game.”

Things started off even worse for the Tigers in the second half. Less than a minute after the break, Victor Mariscal’s cross found the head of Avina, whose diving header, while not struck well, still found the net. In the 64th minute, Mariscal banged home a Vermillion cross to make it 7-0. Then with five minutes left in the game, Joey Ferreira chased down a loose ball and ended up with a goal after an attempted Douglas clearance ricocheted off his legs and into the net.

“We didn’t do a good job in the midfield,” Sheridan said. “We played a little better in the second half and we didn’t quit. I’d rather have a group like this, then have a team that quits and I’ve had some (teams) like that.”

For Winters, only time will tell if this South Tahoe team can defend its Sierra League title and, perhaps, become the first since Carson from the North win a big-school state championship.

“For us, it’s a building process. It’s still early and we know we have to get better and better,” Winters said.

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