Douglas soccer falls to South Tahoe
by Joey Crandall
Midway through the second half Wednesday afternoon, South Tahoe boys’ soccer coach Chris DeLeon could feel the situation becoming more desperate.
His team was trailing Douglas 1-0 and his offense was running out of gas.
He turned and challenged his bench.
“Can somebody get me a forward?” he shouted. “Can I have someone who is not going to give up?”
The Vikings’ Hector Ruelas immediately popped up off the bench and entered the game at the next whistle.
Two minutes later, Ruelas picked up a rebound off the hands of Douglas keeper Chris Aguilar and tied up the game with one touch.
Tahoe’s Jamie Estrada later put in the game-winner with less than four minutes remaining to vault the Vikings to the 2-1 Sierra League victory at Douglas.
“That’s the biggest thing,” DeLeon said after the game of Ruelas’ goal. “We don’t have the bench that we had last year. I needed to find someone who was willing to sacrifice themselves for the love of the game, and Hector jumped right in there.”
The game was South Tahoe’s fifth in seven days. All of them have been on the road. All of them have been wins, with the exception of a tie against North Tahoe over the weekend.
“We are really tired,” DeLeon said. “We knew Douglas was a top-notch team. if anything, we were the underdog coming into this game. This is their year.”
South Tahoe came into the game ranked 12th in the country, but through the majority of the game Douglas held the one goal lead.
Tiger midfielder Miles DeLaurentis sent a direct kick into Mike Gransbery, who then headed it toward the net where Justin Norvell punched it in in the 29th minute of the game.
Douglas played some staunch defense throughout the game with Jeff Spencer playing his first full game of the season.
“Jeff had an outstanding game distributing the ball and Colten Mellows again was our big stopper back there,” Douglas coach Phil Sheridan said.
Chris Aguilar also came up with a number of outstanding saves in the net for the Tigers, including one at point blank range as the final whistle blew.
Alfredo Salerio played a solid game in net as well for the Vikings.
Douglas had the ball deep in South Tahoe territory through much of the last two minutes and had several chances to make something happen.
“We didn’t get a quality look at the end,” Sheridan said. “We got some great head balls played through during the game. We served the ball in there on set plays and we were winning all of them, but we just weren’t getting them in the goal.”
South Tahoe improved to 6-0-1 on the year while Douglas suffered its first defeat, dropping to 3-1-0.