South Tahoe boys soccer rolls past Lowry 6-3 in regional quarterfinals
After a regular season characterized by ties and missed chances, the South Tahoe boys soccer team delivered a decisive win to open the postseason on Thursday, Nov. 5. The fourth-seeded Vikings rode a big first half past fifth-seeded Lowry 6-3 in the Div. I-A Northern Region quarterfinals at Adobe Middle School.
“It was a new game and a new season,” Vikings coach Eder Vazquez said. “It was the start of a journey to accomplish the goal that we are looking for, which is state and playing back at home. We took the first step and it was a successful one.”
South Tahoe (9-1-7) erased an early deficit with five unanswered goals in the first half to take a commanding 5-1 lead into the break. Miki Crotta and Martin Jimenez each scored twice and Brandon Estrada added a goal as the Vikings scored five times in a 20-minute span to grab control of the match.
“That shows what we’re capable of,” Vazquez said. “We play our possession game, we dominate the other team and we create those scoring opportunities — and we completed those scoring opportunities against Lowry.”
Early in the second half, Jack Kixmiller converted a penalty kick to put the Vikings ahead 6-1. Lowry (7-10-3) scored the last two goals of the match, but didn’t threaten South Tahoe’s chances of advancing.
“We were sharp. We were scoring on most of the opportunities we had,” Vazquez said. “At that point, we were already thinking about the next game and trying to not have any injuries.”
South Tahoe finished with seven ties in league play, including one against the Buckaroos in the first round. The Vikings forfeited their second meeting with Lowry, erasing a 1-0 win. Missed chances that haunted STHS in regular season draws were almost nonexistent in its playoff opener.
“We scored on a lot opportunities we had, which was one of the challenges through the regular season,” Vazquez said. “Our attacking and our forwards were on point.”
South Tahoe again headed to the regional tournament with blond dye jobs, the team’s playoff tradition. Among the new dos, Vazquez said goalkeeper Antony Lopez’s came out the worst — after multiple rounds it ended up with an orange tint.
The Vikings advanced to the regional semifinals play top-seeded Sparks (16-1-4) on Friday, Nov. 6, at Adobe Middle School — and lost to the Railroaders 1-0 in double overtime. Sparks earned a spot in the Div. I-A State tournament and has eliminated South Tahoe in this round each of the past four seasons.
“It’s the game of our lives, because it determines whether we go to state or not,” Vazquez said. “We’re hoping to be back at home next week to play at our field in our town.”