South Tahoe girls soccer secures league title with 8-1 win over Sparks
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. —The South Tahoe girls soccer team clinched a second straight league championship while celebrating its seniors Tuesday night. The Vikings scored six first-half goals en route to an 8-1 win over Sparks at Viking Stadium, a victory that locked up the Div. I-A Northern League crown.
“We got the lead, we got the goals and we were kind of able to put those distractions away and just play soccer — that’s always important on Senior Night,” Vikings head coach Jeremy Evans said.
South Tahoe (16-2-1, 13-0-1 I-A Northern) quickly went up 2-0 with goals from forward Annie Brejc and midfielder Molly Jaggard. The Vikings continued to attack through the middle after jumping in front, but couldn’t add to their lead until the last 20 minutes of the first half due to strong play from Railroaders goalkeeper Senifa Po’oi.
“Finally we started to figure out that if we get the ball out wide to angles and cut it back, we put their goalkeeper in compromising situations,” Evans said. “But when you fire away inside the hash marks, she’s going to pick everything off.”
The change in strategy sparked South Tahoe to four goals in quick succession before the break. Midfielder Grace Schouten scored two goals during that span, midfielder Ally King scored off an assist from forward Jordyn Dion and Brejc’s second put the Vikings ahead 6-0.
“We were trying to cram it centrally — our last four goals came from getting the ball out wide and crossing,” Evans said. “Once we buy into that, we have a lot of success.”
Early in the second half, Brejc completed a hat trick with a goal off an assist from midfielder Kendall Eagen. Sparks (5-11-1, 5-9-1) avoided the shutout when Po’oi converted a penalty kick in the 66th minute — six minutes later Vikings midfielder Desi Benavidez found the back of the net for STHS’ eighth goal of the match.
“I was happy with the finishing — we didn’t have that the first time we played them,” Evans said.
At halftime, South Tahoe held a ceremony to honor its 11 seniors. The Vikings’ senior class of Dion, Eagen, King, defender Jensen Smith, goalkeeper Alicia Rea, midfielder Valeria Garcia, midfielder Beth Jaggard, forward Carli Valney, defender Abi Killebrew, midfielder Maia Bickert and defender Teagan Grant will look to add to their legacy with a second straight state championship.
“It’s been one of the more successful groups in South Tahoe High School history,” Evans said. “A few of these girls as freshmen were moved up to the varsity team and they were part of a state championship team, many were on varsity as sophomores and they made the state semifinals again, and last year we won the state championship.
“This is my fifth year with the program, and this is one group I’ve had from freshman year on. We lost some over the years, but we’ve had a lot of continuity.”
With the victory, South Tahoe clinched a second straight league championship. The Vikings return to action Friday against Spring Creek at South Tahoe Middle School at 4 p.m., and conclude the regular season by hosting Elko on Saturday at noon.
South Tahoe boys soccer ties Railroaders, moves into third place
SPARKS, Nev. — The South Tahoe boys soccer team delivered a solid result Tuesday to remain ahead of a four-team pack fighting for the Div. I-A Northern League’s last two playoff spots. The Vikings tied second-place Sparks 1-1 on the road, the second time the teams have drawn this season.
South Tahoe (8-5-2, 8-4-2 Northern I-A) took the early lead on a free kick from midfielder Johnny Medina in the first half. After halftime, Sparks (18-2-2, 11-2-2) pulled even with a goal from Jose Mendoza.
The Vikings’ junior varsity boys team beat Sparks 2-0 on Tuesday to improve to 8-2 on the season. Gabby Martinez and Johnny Luquin scored for South Tahoe in the victory.
South Tahoe concludes the regular season this week with a pair of road games — the Vikings play at Spring Creek on Friday and face Elko on the road the following day. STHS is currently in third place with 26 points — Elko and Fallon are tied for fourth with 25 apiece, and Spring Creek is sitting in fifth with 23.