This one's for all the Douglas High players who never made it to his point: Qualifying for the state tournament.
The kinship of the Douglas High boys soccer program was demonstrated after Thursday's 1-0 win over Reed in the Northern 4A semifinals on Thursday. The win earned Douglas a spot in next week's NIAA 4A State Tournament and one of the team's leaders, Jose Alcaraz dedicated the win to all those Douglas players who didn't receive the chance to play at state.
"I think that's the epitomy of my team," said Douglas coach Milko Vasquez about the comments by Alcaraz. "They're very workmanlike and very professional."
"I like the way the kids are playing. They're playing with confidence. I can't complain about it at all."
But even though the Tigers have qualified for state, don't think they're going to relax. Next up for Douglas is the Northern 4A finals today against South Tahoe at 2 p.m. at Damonte Ranch.
Douglas has gone 1-0-1 against the Vikings this year and both games were hard fought affairs. The Tigers won at South Tahoe 1-0 and the two teams tied at Douglas 1-1.
"Without a doubt," said Vasquez when asked if he expected another hard fought battle. "We know each other inside and out.
"We know what we're up against. There's not tricks being pulled in this game. It's all about execution and just go out and have fun."
But Vasquez also wants his team to maintain its intensity even though it's qualified for state. "You need to play with a sense of urgency," Vasquez said. "It is important to win."
Vasquez noted the loser today will likely face defending state champion Bishop Gorman in next week's state semifinals.
"When you play someone who's the defending champion, you play somebody who's got the experience," Vasquez said.
"All (the) games have been hard. They continue to be hard. They don't get any easier."
Vasquez admitted qualifying for state gives his team less to worry about. "Obviously that is a big burden off their backs, qualifying for state," Vasquez said.
South Tahoe is loaded with players such as offensive threat Gavin Chandler and midfielder Anthony deMarta.
"They've got depth," Vasquez said. "Everybody's got to play their part. We've got to play our best and we know it."
Among the players who have done their share is Alcaraz, who has played all over the field. Vasquez said Alcaraz will start at goalie today. "He's playing very well in the goal," Vasquez said.
But Vasquez also said Alcaraz could play in the field if the situation calls for it. "I won't hesitate to put him in the field," Vasquez said. "He's just as good of a field player."
Douglas has also received strong play from midfielders Edgar Arceo and Eddie Vega and defenders Geoff Rahe, Brian Randall, Kyle Gardner and Ray Kaffer.