South Tahoe girls soccer beats North Tahoe 4-0 to cap first round of league play, pitches fourth straight shutout
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — At the midway point of 3A Northern League play, the South Tahoe girls soccer team is finding its stride. The Vikings concluded the first round of league with a 4-0 win over North Tahoe on Friday, Sept. 30, at Viking Stadium, notching a fourth straight shutout in dominant fashion.
South Tahoe (6-4, 6-2 3A Northern) opened the scoring in the second minute Friday, and added three goals in the second half to comfortably dispatch the Lakers. The Vikings held North Tahoe (4-3-2, 2-4-2) to one shot in the entire match while extending their streak of clean sheets.
“I like where we’re at. Our loss against Incline put us where we’re at right now,” said senior Ana Garcia, who scored twice in Friday’s win. “We knew we could play better, and we really learned our lesson from that loss.”
Two minutes into the match, Garcia scored off an assist from junior Lulu Gutierrez to stake the Vikings to an early lead. South Tahoe took that one-goal advantage into the break after a choppy first half spent mostly in the midfield.
“It’s been the season of the tale of two halves,” Vikings coach Mark Salmon said. “We scored in the first two minutes and then panicked for the other 38 to finish the half. It wasn’t good soccer.”
After the break, the Vikings turned up the pressure in the attack to pull away. Junior Bailey Segers hammered home a rebound in the 47th minute to make it 2-0, the first of three second-half goals amidst a flurry of chances for the hosts.
“We definitely played better in the second half,” Garcia said. “Getting the ball in the goal was what we talked about mostly — we needed to be scoring.”
Garcia added her second of the match in the 60th minute off an assist from Segers in a sequence started by a North Tahoe turnover. The senior has a team-leading nine goals on the season, including six in the Vikings’ last three matches.
“I want to score for my team and I like to win,” Garcia said. “Some people want to do it for themselves, but I feel like I need to do it for my team — that’s my motivation.”
Junior Annie Brejc capped the scoring Friday with a goal in the 69th minute, converting a one-on-one chance after receiving a through ball from Gutierrez. Ahead by four goals, South Tahoe maintained control the rest of the way and senior Claudia Janese wasn’t tested en route to the shutout.
“We were always first to the ball and had good communication,” Vikings sophomore Nikki Cruz said. “We just had to be aggressive and come in strong.”
Cruz anchored South Tahoe’s back line on Friday night while filling in for typical starting center back Lillie McGuire. The Vikings keyed on North Tahoe freshman Malie Markham defensively, and largely shut down the attacker who came in with 15 goals on the season.
“We thought we would have to play more defensively, but Nikki did such a great job,” Salmon said. “Malie didn’t have time the whole night, and that was key — if you give that girl 10 yards, she will cut you up. She never had a chance to face our defenders straight on.”
Through the first round of 3A Northern play, South Tahoe trails first-place Truckee (9-0, 8-0) by six points in the standings. The Vikings have significant ground to make up in the chase for the league title, but are headed in the right direction after a slow start.
“I love it. If we’re going to have an ‘oops,’ it’s better to have it earlier in the season,” Salmon said. “I’m happy defensively and offensively, and to see these sophomores come up and make a mark is huge.”
South Tahoe kicks off the second round of league play at home Wednesday, Oct. 5, against Lowry. Kickoff at Viking Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m.