South Tahoe girls soccer overcomes red card, rallies past Elko 2-1
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Down a player and trailing by a goal, the South Tahoe girls soccer team still found a way to win Friday, Sept. 11. The Vikings rallied past defensive-minded Elko 2-1 at Viking Stadium, erasing a halftime deficit despite playing with 10 after a 30th-minute red card.
“It was a test, and the girls persevered and did really well,” Vikings head coach Mark Salmon said.
South Tahoe (2-1, 2-0 I-A Northern) dominated possession throughout the match, but struggled to break the Indians down in the attacking third. Elko (0-6, 0-1) started with five defenders on the back line, and had as many as nine players on defense when the Vikings had the ball.
“It’s frustrating when you can’t get through the wall of red,” Salmon said. “They hunker down with nine bodies inside the box and it’s tough to pull them out and stretch them.”
A frustrating start for the Vikings was compounded when a fluke play led to a red card and Elko jumping in front. A misplayed back pass in the 29th minute got past South Tahoe goalkeeper Claudia Janese, and when Janese went for the ball she tripped Indians forward Siana Carsrud in the box.
A foul was called, leading to a penalty kick for Elko along with a red card and the dismissal of Janese. Indians midfielder Aspen Fordin converted the ensuing penalty, putting South Tahoe in a 1-0 hole in the 31st minute.
“That was pretty rough, and it resulted in a goal — which made it even worse,” Vikings midfielder Grace Schouten said.
Stunned by the red card and goal, South Tahoe went into the break trailing and visibly shaken. The Vikings badly needed halftime to regroup, and collected their emotions while making a change in formation — going from four defenders in the back to three.
“We were definitely frustrated because we don’t ever lose, so the fact that we were even down made everybody freak out,” Schouten said. “At halftime, a few of the girls said we just had to let it go — it definitely helped all of us keep calm.”
Three minutes after the second-half kickoff, South Tahoe tied the game when midfielder Emma Mayberry found the back of the net. Mayberry pounced on a rebound after midfielder Annie Brejc fired a shot from outside the box that Elko goalkeeper Madi Harris couldn’t handle.
“That shows the character of our team,” Salmon said. “We had that talk and they didn’t hang their heads; they knew full well we deserved this game, so to go out there and score that quickly was exactly what we needed.”
In the 58th minute, South Tahoe went ahead for good on a strong individual play from Schouten. The senior dribbled into the right side of the box and beat Harris near side from five yards out to make it 2-1.
“I was surprised that [the keeper] didn’t come out,” Schouten said. “Kenya [Maltase] gave me a great ball and set me up for that — if I didn’t finish that, there would have been a problem.”
After the Vikings went ahead, they controlled play the rest of the way to secure the comeback victory. South Tahoe’s defense prevented Elko’s long balls from getting through, and the hosts pitched a shutout after the red card with midfielder Maria Martinez in goal.
“Whether we’re playing with eight, nine or 10 it doesn’t matter what bodies are out there,” Salmon said. “We’re all capable, so we just had to keep our heads on our shoulders, play smart and keep doing what we’re doing.”
South Tahoe returns to action at home next Friday, Sept. 18, against Lowry. Kickoff at Viking Stadium is scheduled for 5 p.m.