Boys’ soccer succsessful at South Tahoe | RecordCourier.com
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Boys’ soccer succsessful at South Tahoe

Donnie Nelson

It has been a season of firsts for the seniors on the Douglas High School boys varsity soccer team.

They beat Carson last week for the first time in their careers and Thursday they beat South Tahoe, 1-0, also for the first time in their careers. It seems unusual that the defending zone champions didn’t turn those tricks last year, but ties do not count as wins.

“The seniors are pleased that they have now finally beat Carson and South Tahoe, at last,” Douglas coach Mike Robinson said.

The game’s lone goal came very unexpectedly.

The Tigers, 5-0, were awarded a direct free kick at midfield in the 13th minute after South Tahoe’s Dennis Millan was called for pushing. Brett Marenco took the kick and sent a high ball deep into the South Tahoe penalty box. The Vikings, 3-2, had set up a fake off-sides trap and partial wall at the top of the box, but everybody rushed in when the kick went over the top of the defense.

Despite the big rush into the box, nobody touched the ball. It took one big hop about 12 yards out and went over South Tahoe keeper Mario Zepeda and into the net. It didn’t hurt that Marenco was kicking slightly downhill on a hard field with a slight breeze at his back.

“Of course I meant to do that,” Marenco said with a jokingly. “I just tried to play the ball in there and it so happened that it bounced over his head. Sometimes luck is with you.

“We have a strategy (on long free kicks) to send it in there and have a guy from deep run in there. He can run onto it and not be offsides,” Marenco said. “It worked out well.”

Both teams had one other good scoring opportunity in the first half but couldn’t capitalize.

In the 22nd minute, Adam Kincaid controlled a free ball at the top of the penalty box and pushed a beautiful pass to the right to Chance Supko. Supko flicked the ball right between two defenders to Dave Griboski, who shot a hard grounder to the keeper.

Douglas never had a chance to display its interior passing game because the rough, hard and narrow field favored the kick ball tactics of the Vikings.

“It’s bouncy which makes it hard to control,” Robinson said.

South Tahoe had its best scoring chance of the half in the 27th minute. Evan Baker picked up a free ball at midfield and pushed it ahead to an overlapping Angel Hernandez on the right wing. Hernandez took it to the end line and cut back a perfect cross into the box, but Douglas goalie Kevin Gwinn beat Travis McCollum to the 50-50 ball and prevented what would have been a short-range shot on goal.

The Douglas defense was never really threatened again until late in the game.

The Tigers offense had several chances in the second half.

Marenco made a great run down the right sideline in the 43rd minute and put a perfect square ball into the box for Rory Marenco. Rory got a good header on goal but Zepeda lunged to his right and batted the ball away.

In the 45th minute, Rory Marenco put a throw in from the left side in front of the net but the ball bounced all the way across the goal mouth without anyone touching it.

Jeremy Louthan turned on a pass from Dylan Sheridan at the penalty spot in the 52nd minute but his shot was snared by Zepeda.

Sheridan also got a good header on goal in the 69th minute off a cross from Rory Marenco but it went just over the crossbar.

South Tahoe’s best and last scoring opportunity came in the 76th minute when Baker put a cross from the right side into the box. McCollum dove at the ball but missed and stayed down on the goal line. Steven Fruitman kept the play alive on the left side but his shot, a hard grounder at the near post, was stopped by McCollum. Gwinn dove over the sprawled out South Tahoe striker and made the save.

“It seemed like it went on for a long time, but then again it seems like games at South Tahoe always do,” Robinson said referring to a few anxious moments down the stretch.

Douglas outshot the Vikings 12-9. South Tahoe was whistled for 19 fouls in a game that was physical and difficult for the Tigers to play with any rhythm in.

“Traditionally they always play that way, with tough defense and fast breaks,” Robinson said. “We tried to play our style and push them into their own third and keep them there.”

Game statistics

First half – Douglas 1, South Tahoe 0. Douglas, Brett Marenco, 13th. Shots on goal – Douglas 5, South Tahoe 4. Crosses – Douglas 7, South Tahoe 5. Saves – Douglas 3, South Tahoe 2. Keeper balls – Douglas 6, South Tahoe 6. Corners – Douglas 2, South Tahoe 0. Goal kicks – Douglas 2, South Tahoe 8. Throw ins – Douglas 12, South Tahoe 26. Fouls – Douglas 1, South Tahoe 19.

Second half – No scoring. Shots on goal – Douglas 7, South Tahoe 5. Crosses – Douglas 5, South Tahoe 7. Saves – Douglas 4, South Tahoe 2. Keeper balls – Douglas 10, South Tahoe 4. Corners – Douglas 1, South Tahoe 3. Goal kicks – Douglas 2, South Tahoe 0. Throw ins – Douglas 16, South Tahoe 17. Fouls – Douglas 10, South Tahoe 10.

Totals – Douglas 1, South Tahoe 0. Shots on goal – Douglas 12, South Tahoe 9. Saves – Douglas 7, South Tahoe 4.