Vikings dominate in emotional battle
Alex Torres scored two goals in the first half as the Vikings defeated perennial rival Reno 3-1 Wednesday, and essentially erased the memory of tying North Valleys in their first Sierra Division game of the year.
“We pushed some buttons this week in practice,” said head Viking coach Joe Winters. “Guys that responded to the pressure are going to respond in games. We pushed the right buttons.”
It didn’t hurt that the Huskies arrived at South Tahoe Middle school less than 5 minutes before the start of the game. By that time, the Vikings had been warming up for more than 30 minutes.
“Reno came out a little bit flat because they were late,” said STHS center forward Leon Abravanel. “We had two really good practices this week, so we came out hard.”
Six minutes into the game, Alex Torres, a junior who donned a Mohawk dyed bright red, got the ball at midfield from Corey Vermillion after a booming kick by keeper Tobin Lindstrom. Shooting from near the 18-yard mark after evading two defenders, Torres put the ball just outside Reno’s reach for South Tahoe’s first goal.
Nine minutes later, Abravanel, who recently made the regional Olympic Development Team, sent a corner kick into the center for a jumping header by Torres for goal No. 2 late in the 15th minute.
Two minutes later, Torres, deep in Reno’s corner, put the ball through his defender’s legs, and made a centering pass.
Abravanel got the ball, passed it to Vermillion, who scored the Vikings’ third goal to take a 3-0 lead.
South Tahoe outshot Reno 5-3 in the first half with five corner kicks to Reno’s one.
South Tahoe’s aggressive play also led to offside calls five times in the half.
“We want zone and we want state this year,” Abravanel said. “North Valleys woke us up. Now we come out at practice and work hard.”
Abravanel said the team came out a lot stronger against Reno.
“We needed that (North Valleys) game to wake us up. We felt like maybe we were too good for anybody, I guess,” he said.
Reno, however, wasn’t finished with South Tahoe.
In the 8th minute of the second half, Reno’s Chris Smith scored after shooting a deflection from Lindstrom’s hands.
Emotions escalated late in the second half and culminated in a confrontation in front of Reno’s goal in the 78th minute. The officials let the action continue.
Torres went down, then retaliated, sending a Reno player to the ground for several minutes. Officials gave the Viking a yellow card and he was taken out of the game.
“I don’t approve of what he did at all …” Winters said. “Officials didn’t call the foul and there’s a lot of adrenaline running out there. … I don’t think they were doing a bad job, but the game was getting physical.”
Reno’s head coach Rob Moreland said he wasn’t happy about South Tahoe’s aggressive play late in the game, nor was he happy the team didn’t have time to warm up.
“As soon as we got our boots on they said, ‘Let’s play,'” Moreland said. “But that’s no excuse. I thought we played better against Carson.”
South Tahoe pressured the ball more than Carson and Fallon, who Reno has played so far, “and we weren’t ready for it,” Moreland added. “But its early in the season.”
South Tahoe’s record now stands at 1-0-1 division play, while Reno is 1-1-1.
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