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Soccer program ends on a very high note

Prospects for future are bright
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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For the Lincoln High varsity soccer team, it wasn’t a championship season, but it was one that may have put the Fighting Zebras on that path. As for the junior varsity, their 16-1 season sealed the Pioneer Valley League title. Although 16 seniors will depart the program, there remains plenty of optimism for years to come. The varsity made a good showing in the Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs before being eliminated 1-0 against a very good Rio Americano team. “They were very good, and they were favored to win,” said first-year soccer head coach Jason Treanor. “(Their) guy made a diving header to the post. He made a great goal and we just didn’t react quick enough.” The Zebras immediately stormed back after that goal, and actually out shot the Raiders 17-5. However, circumstances were such that none of Lincoln’s attempts were deemed to clear the goal. “We outplayed them,” said senior goalkeeper Manuel Vazquez. “We played a good game against them. We outplayed them in the second half. We had a couple shots that went off the posts.” The Zebras finished second to the Placer Hillmen in the PVL. It was Placer’s first league title, and gave them the No. 1 position going into the playoffs. The Hillmen made it to the finals, only to fall 1-0 to Natomas. The Zebras ended up as a No. 3 seed, and entered the playoffs as underdogs. However, they came out and played otherwise. The club knocked off Tri-County Conference No. 2 seed Inderkum, 2-0, before taking on the Capital Athletic League’s No. 1 seed, Rio Americano; the Raiders were ousted by Natomas, 2-1. “I played three seasons at varsity. The first two seasons people thought we were like nothing,” said senior Alex Paz. “This year they had the same thoughts, but we showed them something better than the last two years.” Eight sophomores will be moving up from the JV team. That may only fill half the soccer shoes that are departing, but five juniors should return next season, as well. Among them are Ryan Longley, Adrian Montenegro, and Josh Von Pohle. Von Pohle did a terrific job of filling in for Vazquez when the senior was injured. Von Pohle’s size makes him a formidable presence in fending off opposing shots on goal. It will be difficult to replace the likes of seniors Arley Ibarra and Jose Bocanegra. But sophomore Miguel Franco led the JV club in goals with 26, and sophomore Logan Hasty was second on the team in assists. “We worked well together as a team, and I think our defense was the strongest throughout the whole season,” said sophomore and JV defender Jeremiah Nakasone. “Several (Lincoln) players are individually excellent. We have to be able to work together so we can play the game to the best of our abilities.” Nakasone also expressed gratitude to JV coach George Bonilla, and coach Treanor for the program’s great season. Although the school year is far from over, many of the seniors know a great experience has come to an end. Players like Ibarra plan to compete at American River College, and he now plays in an adult soccer league. But leaving the Zebras family is still not easy to do. “Take every thing that’s coming. Take every single moment of it,” said Vazquez as advice to future Zebras. “Play every single moment, because it comes to an end way too fast.” E-mail News Messenger Sports at jiml@goldcountrymedia.com Rio American 1, LHS 0 Shots on goal Jose Bocanegro 4 Ryan Longley 1 Miguel Franco 2 Arley Ibarra 3 Pedro Zepeda 1 Alex Paz 2 Eddie Hernandez 3 GoalKeeper Josh Von Phole 4 saves