South Tahoe High girls’ soccer team hoping to return to state championship
It’s state championship or bust for the South Tahoe girls’ soccer team.
After making it to the Nevada state playoffs six straight seasons, winning the title in 2011, 2013 and 2014, the Vikings have a razor-sharp focus on reclaiming the crown in 2017.
“It’s expected of us,” said star striker Bailey Segers. “If you’re on varsity, that’s where we’re headed, there’s no doubt about it. It’s state all the way and we hope to bring home another title. We’ve been close the past couple of years, but we wanna get that big win this year. It’s my senior year and I want it more than ever.”
Segers is one of four returning seniors who hope to lead the Vikings back to the promised land.
She was second on the team last season with 19 goals scored in 19 games played. She wants 30 goals this year.
“I think she’s gained even more confidence playing on my U19 club last spring,” said Vikings head coach Mark Salmon. “She played at a lot higher level than we play in high school. It should give her a lot more confidence.”
Senior returners Zoe Fiston and Lourdes Gutierrez are the team captains and they were chosen by their teammates. They’ve been on the past couple teams where the Vikings fell short in the playoffs and Salmon is banking on that experience.
“Those kids have had a taste of it, they’ve been on the edge so they’ve stepping up and trying to get us back there,” Salmon said. “They’re certainly stepping up and trying to organize this team.”
Samantha Frates, a second team All-State player from a year ago, is the fourth returner. The powerful senior scored 10 goals from the center back position.
“She’s a free kick specialist,” Salmon said. “She’s a super powerful, long ball service specialist. Anything with power, that’s her.”
Salmon said the Vikings lost 10 “powerhouse” seniors to graduation, but the third-year coach is confident in his younger players that include eight juniors, one sophomore and three freshmen.
“This junior group has played together for a long time,” Salmon said. “They are very cohesive. They’re veterans. They know what needs to happen, they just need a little bit of guidance from the seniors.”
One thing Salmon knows is that the Vikings will start a freshman in goal. Phoebe Barkann is the only true goalie in the South Tahoe program. And the team has full confidence in her abilities.
“She has great skills to begin with and she’s gonna build on that,” Segers said. “The younger group is stepping up after we lost almost a whole field of players.”
“This is an extremely young group and it’s very seldom you see a freshman make the team at South Tahoe High School, and we have three freshmen currently battling for starting positions,” Salmon said.
The Vikings will have to get past archrival Truckee who beat the Vikings three times a year ago on its way to the 3A Northern League and state title.
The Vikings roster includes, juniors Jacqui Bravo Cazares, Lillie McGuire, Amber Osorio, Quinn Simpson, Riley Turner, Ashley Trejo, Lexi Trejo, Andrea Vazquez, sophomore Morrison Salmon and freshmen Giovana DeLoia and Kelsey Hogan.
The Vikings kickoff their season at 12:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, against Douglas in the Round Robin South Tahoe Invitational.
They play two games Saturday, Aug. 26, at 11:40 a.m. vs. Wooster and at 6:20 p.m. against Spanish Springs. All the Vikings games will be played at the high school.
“I hope we hit the ground running,” Segers said. “Douglass might be a little better than us, we’ve lost to them in the past and we have a younger group this year, but I’m still confident we can pull it off.”