South Tahoe wins 19th straight game
RENO – The goals aren’t coming as easy for the Vikings in the playoffs, but they are still coming.
Alli Fox scored the game-winning goal in the 65th minute – and the defense recorded its 14th shutout of the season – as the South Tahoe girls’ soccer team beat Douglas 1-0 in the Northern 4A regional tournament semifinals on Wednesday at Damonte Ranch High School.
The Sierra League champion Vikings will face High Desert League champion Reed in the championship game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Damonte Ranch. The Raiders defeated third-seeded McQueen 1-0 in Wednesday’s other semifinal.
“A constant reminder at practice this week was the game against Spanish Springs and how we came out a little slow, a little flat,” said STHS coach Clint Lockhart, whose team won its 19th consecutive game. “The whole key was to come out with intensity, and I believe we did that from start to finish.”
South Tahoe needed a penalty-kick shootout to defeat fourth-seeded Spanish Springs 2-1 in a first-round match last Saturday. Although they only scored once against the Tigers, the Vikings seemed more in control of Wednesday’s match.
Douglas’ defensive shell, though, proved difficult to crack, with STHS only able to muster a handful of half-chances and near misses. But the frustration ended in the 65th minute with a beautiful combination play between Fox and Cassidy Berg.
Berg collected a ball near midfield and split three Tiger defenders with a through ball that sprung Fox free behind the Douglas defense. The senior striker took a few touches and banged a left-footed shot past goalie Jamie Greer.
Fox’s 11th goal of the season helped the Vikings defeat the Tigers for the third time this season. And with two wins over Reed already this season, South Tahoe will have to accomplish the same feat if it wants to win its first regional title since 1996.
“They were beating us to the do ball at first … they were winning every ball in the air, but then we picked up our intensity,” Fox said of the Tigers, who finished the season 13-7-1. “(But) we are going to come out hard with a lot of intensity against Reed. We are going to come out tough.”
South Tahoe, which is making its first regional title game appearance in 11 years, beat Reed 1-0 in the Galena preseason tournament and 2-1 on Sept. 4 in South Lake Tahoe.
“Reed looks like they have improved and are a different team than when we played them at the beginning of the season, which I would expect,” Lockhart said. “Each one of us have played 16 games since then. So, at the same token, I think we are a different team than we were at the beginning of the season. It should be a good finals.”