South Tahoe boys soccer gets snowy send-off, beats Incline after playoff exit
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — A senior-laden South Tahoe boys soccer team celebrated an outgoing class of 15 players in style on their home field Monday, Nov. 9. The Vikings beat recently crowned Div. III State champion Incline 3-0 at Viking Stadium, ending their 2015 season with success in snowy conditions.
“It’s great to close it out this way,” Vikings senior Carson Alexander said. “We’ve been playing together since we were in AYSO, and to end it on the field together with a win feels really good.”
South Tahoe (10-2-7) got all of its goals from seniors in its victory over the Highlanders on Monday. Martin Jimenez opened the scoring in the first 10 minutes, and the Vikings had a 1-0 lead at halftime against Incline (15-10).
“We knew that we we’re going into win this game and take it home,” Alexander said.
In the second half, Rogelio Salcedo scored on a free kick in the 52nd minute to make it 2-0. It was the first goal of the campaign for Salcedo, who missed parts of the regular season due to injury.
“I got lucky enough to score and it means everything to me,” Salcedo said. “My whole family was there, my girlfriend was there and it was my last game playing for the high school — I wanted to score so bad.”
Alexander capped the scoring in the 60th minute as South Tahoe rolled to victory over Incline, who beat Yerington 7-0 on Saturday, Nov. 7, to claim a fourth straight state championship. After beating the Highlanders, the Vikings slid on the snowy turf toward the home stands to bid farewell to the season.
“It’s really special,” Alexander said. “This is the best group of players I’ve been with throughout my soccer career — it’s really tough to say goodbye.”
The Vikings’ 2015 team is made up almost entirely of seniors, including captains Chuy Vazquez, Jack Kixmiller and Jonny Medina. As the final whistle blew Monday, there were smiles, laughs, hugs and tears as the senior group ended their South Tahoe careers.
“This is a great group of boys that I’m sure are going to be successful in the future,” Vikings coach Eder Vazquez said.
Three days earlier, South Tahoe’s quest for a state championship was dashed in painful fashion. The fourth-seeded Vikings fell to top-seeded Sparks 1-0 in the Div. I-A Northern Region semifinals, losing on a penalty kick in double overtime.
“It was devastating,” Salcedo said. “It broke our hearts to have the game end that way.”
South Tahoe battled the Railroaders until almost the very end of regulation and two overtime periods, but ultimately fell minutes shy of taking the match to penalty kicks. The Vikings have lost to Sparks with a state berth on the line in each of the past four seasons.
“We had an amazing season,” Salcedo said. “We might have lost, but we played a great game, we put our hearts out there and couldn’t have done anything else to try to win.”