South Tahoe boys soccer rides late goals past Spring Creek 3-1
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe boys soccer team appeared headed for a second draw in as many days on its home turf Saturday, Oct. 10. But as the Vikings’ match against Spring Creek wound down, the hosts found a way to win.
South Tahoe broke a tie with a goal from Brandon Estrada in the 71st minute, then scored three minutes later to secure a 3-1 win over the Spartans. The dramatic victory extended the Vikings’ unbeaten streak to 10 matches.
“We worked really hard and it felt good to come back in the second half when we got back to our game,” Estrada said. “We just need those wins, no more ties.”
South Tahoe (5-0-5 I-A Northern) opened the scoring early in the first half, taking the lead with a strike from Johnny Medina in the eighth minute. The Vikings controlled play from the outset, but late in the first half Spring Creek (5-10-2, 3-6-1) evened the match on a set piece.
In the 29th minute, Spartans defender Wyatt Church took a free kick from near midfield that landed in South Tahoe’s box. The ball fell to Spring Creek forward Spencer Pemelton, who fired a low shot in the right corner of the net that tied the game.
“It was nerveracking at times, the fact that it was a 1-0 score and we’re dominating the team with shots,” Medina said. “We got that one shot on us and that equaled up the game.”
Both teams went into halftime tied 1-1, and the score stayed that way for the majority a contentious second half. South Tahoe couldn’t retake the lead despite dominating play — then finally broke through by capitalizing on a Spring Creek miscue.
Spartans goalkeeper Spencer Woodland failed to clear a ball near the 6-yard box, and Estrada pounced on the loose ball. The midfielder poked the ball into the net from a crowd of Spring Creek defenders, putting South Tahoe ahead 2-1 with nine minutes to play.
“I really wanted that ball and I knew the goalie wasn’t confident about it, so I just went to it and fought for the ball,” Estrada said.
Three minutes after taking the lead, the Vikings put the game away with a long-distance strike. Medina had space inside midfield and took a few dribbles before uncorking a 45-yard blast that flew into the top right corner of the net — the goal gave South Tahoe a commanding two-goal lead.
“I had no man on me, I saw the goal and I just decided to go for it,” Medina said. “Coach says you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take, so there’s one. It was a breather to see that one go in.”
A day earlier, South Tahoe couldn’t avoid tying on its home field. The Vikings opened the second round of league play with a 1-1 draw against Elko on Friday, Oct. 9, jumping in front in the second half on a Martin Jimenez goal only to see their lead vanish when the Indians converted a penalty kick in the last minute.
“It was a lot of frustration,” Medina said. “That game was complete domination, it’s just that the ball wouldn’t go in the net.”
The Vikings are currently in third place in the Div. I-A Northern League standings, behind league-leading Sparks (9-0-1) and Elko (7-1-2). The top six teams in league qualify for the playoffs.
South Tahoe returns to action Friday, Oct. 16, when it hosts Lowry. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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