South Tahoe girls soccer finishes unbeaten in league play, loses Dion for season
The South Tahoe girls soccer team ended the regular season with a pair of wins last weekend — but those victories were overshadowed by the loss of a key player. Vikings’ senior forward and leading scorer Jordyn Dion suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team’s 6-0 win over Spring Creek on Friday, putting a cloud of doubt over the remainder of the season.
“It’s unfortunate,” Vikings head coach Jeremy Evans said.
Dion suffered her injury in the opening minutes of the Vikings’ six-goal win over the Spartans at South Tahoe Middle School. She had 18 goals and 19 assists headed into Friday’s match — both team highs.
“She’s not just a goal scorer — she sets everybody up, too,” Evans said. “No one is going to replace Jordyn, but in certain moments other players can do something she provided for us.”
The Vikings went on to handily beat Spring Creek, led by a two-goal performance from forward Annie Brejc and goals from forward Carli Valney along with midfielders Kendall Eagen, Ally King and Desi Benavidez — Eagen added an assist. Midfielders Valeria Garcia, Beth Jaggard and Ashlee Schouten each had helpers in the victory along with defender Natalie Reber.
South Tahoe (18-2-1, 15-0-1 I-A Northern) beat Elko 3-0 the following day in a cold, snowy match at Viking Stadium. With the victory, the Vikings finished unbeaten in league play — and finished with 15 consecutive league wins.
“The energy was low and the morale was down because they heard about Jordyn — it’s kind of like this black cloud that’s been over our team,” Evans said. “Some of the passing was fine and we got out of here with no injuries — that was the most important thing.”
Brejc opened the scoring for the Vikings against the Indians in the 19th minute — 12 minutes later King found the back of the net to make it 2-0. In the second half, midfielder Maia Bickert sealed the victory with her first goal of the season — the senior pounced on a rebound in the 66th minute.
Light snow fell for the last 50 minutes of the match — the field was covered in snow that had to be shoveled to the side prior to the kickoff of the junior varsity game at 10 a.m. Both teams’ postseason fates had already been decided prior to kickoff — South Tahoe was locked into the top seed and Elko was eliminated the night before with a loss at Truckee.
“We knew going into the game that it didn’t have to be played — all the seeding would be the same — but there’s pride on the line,” Evans said.
South Tahoe finished atop the Div. I-A Northern League standings, earning the top seed in the Northern Region playoffs for the second straight season. The Vikings face fourth-seeded Lowry (9-7-3) in the regional semifinals Friday at 3 p.m. at Riverview Sports Park in Truckee — and would qualify for the state tournament with a win.
“Everything is focused on Friday against Lowry — we’ve had success against them, but it’s playoffs and they play very intense and hard,” Evans said. “We have to win on Friday, and then we buy ourselves another week to figure it out for state.”
The Vikings shouldn’t have a problem beating the Buckaroos without Dion on Friday, but things will get more challenging if they play second-seeded Truckee in the regional championship Saturday. If South Tahoe makes it to the state tournament, the team will need to find a way to replace Dion’s offensive production and presence on the field.
“We have some big decisions to make — now it’s about the next phase of our season,” Evans said. “Our objectives are still the same, our goals are still the same and we’re still going to get there — we’re just going to get there a little differently.”
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