STHS has something to prove in regionals
It’s nearly the end of October, so it must be time for another postseason run by the South Tahoe boys’ soccer team. Right? That’s debatable considering the way the Vikings closed the regular season. To the Vikings’ defense, maybe the drawn out, 14-game Sierra League schedule became a touch boring and now they are ready to refocus.
One only has to look back to last year to see a South Tahoe team that played better in the postseason than it did during the regular season. That club finished second to Carson in league play, then went on to trounce the Senators 3-0 in the regional finals before losing by a goal in the state semifinals.
This Viking team has been imposing at times and unpredictable, too. A 3-2 home defeat to Wooster last Saturday was mystifying, but the league has been strong all season, and it wouldn’t be a total surprise if teams from that division swept the regional quarterfinals on Saturday.
“We could go pretty far,” said STHS coach Chris DeLeon. “If the nonchalant team shows up that we saw against Wooster, Carson and Douglas here at home, it’s gonna be a difficult struggle.
“Coach (Ed) McClain and I have seen moments of greatness. It depends on which team shows up.”
Naturally, the Vikings are carrying more than a disappointing No. 3 seed into the playoffs: They are trying to uphold a Viking tradition of winning regional titles and representing the Northern Nevada in the state tournament.
South Tahoe (14-4-4) has won two of the past four 4A state championships and has advanced to the regional semifinals the past six seasons.
“I think most of the pressure now is that we don’t want to end on the note of being the third seed going into the playoffs,” said senior Mac Cerceo. “We want to have something to show that we are a great team.”
DeLeon doesn’t see the team’s successful past being detrimental.
“There’s always pressure of (living up) to teams of the past,” he said. “Do we discuss it? No. We focus on taking it one day at a time, practice by practice.”
Will STHS’s regional opponents make the same mistake that teams made last year – believing that the Vikings’ talent well has finally run dry?
“It may affect some teams taking us lightly, but it’s going to be the same for us. We’re not taking anyone lightly and we’re playing everyone the same like it’s our last game,” Cerceo said.
That’s the intensity that DeLeon hasn’t seen enough out of his Vikings. If they can sustain it for three more games, don’t be surprised to see the Vikings making arrangements for another state tournament.
Tribune Sports Editor Steve Yingling can be reached at (530) 542-8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.