SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- It's been a long time, six games to be exact, since the Douglas High boys soccer team won a game. Quite a different situation from last year, when the Tigers went undefeated through the first nine games, only to falter at the end of the season.
After starting out 1-4-1, John Trent hopes the opposite happens this year. And Trent did everything he could to make sure the turn around started Wednesday against South Tahoe.
Trent scored two first-half goals within two minutes of one antoerh as Douglas upset the Vikings, 3-1 at South Tahoe Middle School.
"We're playing together as team more now and I think we're starting to play better," said Trent, a junior. "We'll win some more games, we just needed to get that first one."
Trent's referring to Douglas' first Sierra League win of the season, of course. But who knows? The Tigers haven't won since a 1-0 game vs. Elko to start the season, nearly three weeks ago. So maybe Trent forgot Douglas had already won a game.
All coach Phil Sheridan knows is that his team needed to win. And that it came against South Tahoe, one of the favorites to win the league, so be it. Douglas needs confidence, especially after a 4-1 loss to Reno on Saturday, because before yesterday's win, Sheridan said his team's best effort off the season was a 1-0 loss to CarsonÑa loss.
"We needed to beat somebody," Sheridan said. "South Tahoe is a good team. I mean, they knocked off Reno, so we knew it would be a tough game. This was a must win. We had to have this."
Now, the Tigers (2-4-1 overall, 1-3-1 league) have kept their Northern 4A playoff hopes alive. Carson, Reno, and South Tahoe should be top three teams to qualify from the Sierra League. After that, it's a toss up. Douglas could be back on track.
It certainly was against South Tahoe.
The Tigers scored all three of their goals in the first half. Chris Vacek opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Then Trent scored his two goals, both coming from the top of the box.
"I like the second goal a little more, the first one I kind of shanked," said Trent of his two goals, his second being a well-driven shot into the upper corner that froze Viking goalie Pete Chiarpotti.
The second half belonged to the Vikings, though. They constantly pressured the Douglas defense, and in the 69th minute, Larry Martinez made it 3-1 after tucking away a loose ball in the box. In the 73rd minute, the Vikings' Pedro Magullenas had a shot hit the post and then a few minutes later, midfielder Leon Abravanel had another great chance, but his shot missed just over the bar. Tiger goalie Chase Zumpft, from point blank, stopped Chris McKean twice late in the game's final minutes.
But Douglas almost snuck a couple of goals late in the game, but Henry Leon's diving header was saved by Chiarpotti, who also denied Sean Rahe's flick in the final minutes.
Sheridan didn't think the Tigers would shutout South Tahoe (5-2, 3-2), but he's glad the Vikings goal came late, diminishing any chances of a three-goal comeback.
"I thought they would score a goal," Sheridan said of South Tahoe, which has now lost two-straight games, the other being a 3-1 loss to the Senators on Saturday. "Our team walked off the field at halftime and their faces made it seem like we were down 3-0. Maybe it's because we're used to being down but I told them that we can win some games."
Douglas will look for its first winning streak of the season when it hosts Wooster on Saturday at 1 p.m.