Lincoln soccer off to strong start on 2012 season

New coach has Zebras on track
By: Jim Linsdau/News Messenger Sports Editor
-A +A
The Lincoln High School boys soccer team is growing in confidence with each game under new head coach Vasa Lokteff. The Fighting Zebras are off to a 4-1-1 start in preseason with wins over Casa Roble, Oakmont, Rosemont, and Marysville. After coming off a huge 10-1 victory over Casa Roble Sept. 11, the Zebras came back the next day and battled Yuba City to a 1-1 tie. The players did not blame the back-to-back games as to why they couldn’t come up with a winning goal over the 3-2-3 Honkers, but Lokteff didn’t dismiss fatigue as a factor. “They would say they’re fine, but we could tell just starting off they were sluggish; hard to get into a rhythm until the second half,” said Lokteff. “I think it’s difficult to play back-to-back games … . We don’t have a lot of substitutes so a lot of our players play the whole entire game and 80 minutes of soccer is not easy, even for a 17-year-old.” After an opening loss to Roseville in August, Lincoln has been on a roll. There was some concern among the players that coming in with a new coach this season might mean a rebuilding year, but that hasn’t been the case. Since the Roseville game, the Fighting Zebras have outscored their opponents 20-3. Of course, the big win over Casa Roble padded their total scores, but they also shut out Marysville and Rosemont. “I was scared in the beginning, but we pulled together and it looks like we have a really good team and I’m excited where we are,” said junior Logan Hasty, who played for the 21-2-2 junior varsity last year. “We’re working for (the playoffs), training for that; we’re practicing a lot. That’s what we have in mind, playoffs.” Although Lokteff is relatively new to coaching at the high school varsity level, he’s certainly not new to the game. He grew up playing a lot of league soccer and played for Rocklin High School and American River College as well. He said he has also played overseas. Because he isn’t new to the area, he is familiar with the Pioneer Valley League. And, thanks to the way his club is playing, he sees no reason the Zebras won’t do well in league. “I feel confident that we are going to do well in the league. I think we’re going to make a run at winning the whole thing, hopefully going undefeated,” Lokteff said. Lokteff said the club’s loss to Roseville was partly due to trying out players at different positions and testing formations the players weren’t totally familiar with. But now, he feels the team is gelling and said he has some amazing talent on the team. Lokteff is happy to be back in the area and doing what he enjoys most. “I’m just really happy to be here at Lincoln High School. I love the city of Lincoln,” said Lokteff, who is a teacher and youth leader at the school. “I’m really passionate about the kids here and I hope to be here for a long time coaching the soccer team and mentoring the young guys we’ve got here.” Lincoln High School 2012 Soccer Fighting Zebras Lincoln 1, Yuba City 1 Honkers 1 0 – 1 Zebras 1 0 – 1 Lincoln 10, Casa Roble 1 Rams 0 1 – 1 Zebras 3 7 – 10 Lincoln High School 2012 Fighting Zebras Varsity Roster Christian Guzman (So) Mid Fwd Logan Hasty (Jr) Mid Fwd, Fwd Josh Van Pohl (Sr) Goalkeeper Zack Evans (Jr) Def, Fwd Back Christan Hengel (Jr) Mid Fwd, Strk, Fwd Isaul Batista (So) Mid Fwd, Def Victor Leal (Jr) Strk Eduardo Amaya (Sr) Full Back, Def Leo Calderon (Jr) Strk, Fwd Chris Miranda (Sr, Cap) Fwd, Mid Fwd Miguel Franco (Jr) Strk Ryan Longley (Sr, Cap) Strk Dario Ibarra (So) Mid Fwd, Half Back, Fwd Head Coach: Vasa Lokteff INDIVIDUAL LEADERS Goals – Longley 5, Hengel 4, Hasty 3, Franco 3, Miranda 3 Batista 2, Guzman 2. Assists –Franco 5, C. Guzman 3, Batista 2, Hengel 1, Hasty 1. Shots – Franco 22, Longley 19, Hasty 18, Hengel 15, Leal 11, Guzman 9, Miranda 9. Points – Franco 11, Longley 10, Hengel 9, Guzman 7, Hasty 7, Miranda 6, Batista 6. AROUND THE LEAGUE Colfax (5-0-1) 6-0 win over Casa Roble Placer (3-3-1) 3-0 win over Oakmont Foothill (2-3-1) 5-0 loss to Turlock Center (1-5-1), 3-0 loss to Woodcreek Bear River (0-1-1) 5-1 loss to Golden Sierra