Unity has the Vikings feeling something special lays ahead
If the South Tahoe High girls soccer team had to pick a theme song for this year, it would more than likely be the disco classic, “We are family.”
Returning 14 seniors this year, the lady Vikings are coming into the 3A season a tight and cohesive unit that has been together for nearly four years.
“One of our strengths is being a team and a unit,” fourth-year coach Julia Russell said. “The girls really trust each other and they’re coming together strong. That’s going to be hard to beat.”
Coming off a 8-9-1 campaign, the girls are hoping to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish. And with the experience they return, it is likely they will.
Leading the charge up front will be seniors Diana Higman, Heather Lindner and Reggie Braun. The returning trio contributed to most of the teams goal scoring last season.
Playmaking duties in the midfield will likely be led by Melissa Stetson and junior Courtney Carol. Carol started nearly every game last season as a sophomore.
Back in goal is the three-headed monster of senior Lindsey Douglas, sophomore Sierra Shipley and junior Erica Gonzales. Douglas is the top candidate for the starting job, but she is currently nursing a broken collarbone suffered during the club season.
“I feel very confident with all three of them,” Russell said of her keepers. “It’s nice to have depth there.”
Anchoring down the back line will be senior Jessica Perasso, who Russell said is quick, strong and a very good communicator.
“Our defense is looking very strong this year,” Russell said. “We have a lot of speed and power back there, so I don’t see it being a problem letting too many offenses through.”
The varsity squad will carry a record 22 members. While this may leave a challenge for Russell to get everyone playing time, the coaching staff feels this will ultimately benefit the program.
“We try to make everybody understand that it’s for the development of the program,” Russell said. “No matter what, these girls spend 90 percent of their time in practices, learning most of their soccer playing against the good players that are here. So we’ve tried to make it clear to everybody that we’ll all have to be patient to make the best Viking team we can.”
And while there still is plenty of work to be done before they kick of the season, thes united Vikings are optimistic about their chances.
“I think we’re going to do really well,” Douglas said. “All of our seniors have been playing soccer for a really long time and we’re very well composed.”
Perasso echoed her teammates thoughts.
“We’ve always been on the bubble, we’ve always been real close, but I know our level of play is just as good as the competitions, so I feel we can really do it this year,” Perasso said.
The Vikings open their season Sept. 4 at Galena.
Head Coach: Julia Russell, 4th year
Last year: 8-9-1 (fourth in league)
Returning seniors: 14
Opener: Sept. 4 at Galena
Quote: “Teamwork, strength and togetherness are the keys to the season for us.” – senior Lindsey Douglas
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