Third-seeded Vikings to face second-seeded McQueen
With two ties and a defeat in its past three matches, South Tahoe High doesn’t exactly enter the Northern 4A boys’ regional soccer tournament on its customary roll.
But STHS coach Chris DeLeon believes the defending regional champions righted themselves in a 1-1 tie at Douglas on Monday.
“It’s a different team that played Douglas on Monday,” DeLeon said. “The intensity level, that’s what we’ve been asking and looking for all season. It depends on which team shows up to play.”
The Vikings sound like they will be playing with a chip on their shoulder.
“We expect more from ourselves,” said STHS senior defender Mac Cerceo. “We think and believe that we are a better team, and now we’re out to prove that.”
STHS (14-4-4), the third seed from the Sierra League, meets McQueen (4-3-5), a No. 2 seed from the High Desert League, at noon on Saturday in a regional quarterfinal at Damonte Ranch High School in Reno.
For what it’s worth now, the Vikings defeated McQueen 1-0 back in August in the Galena preseason tournament.
“They had a pretty good midfield, and that’s gonna be one of our concerns,” DeLeon said. “We’re going to try to control the pace of the game and go from there.”
Added Cerceo, “I remember playing on a very small field. You can’t take much from that game, because Damonte’s field is much larger.”
Freshman Kory DiGrande, who has scored two goals in the past four games, will replace injured forward Gavin Chandler in the Viking lineup. DiGrande, who was recently moved up from the JV team, scored the Vikings’ lone goal against Douglas.
“He’s a real coachable kid,” DeLeon said. “He’s playing with confidence and going for everything, and they are feeding off his energy.”
“The thing he has going right now is killer instinct,” Cerceo said. “It’s not so much that he has the most touch or best shot, he’s finishing.”