Starting a goalkeeper who has never started in the position before against two of the best teams in the division sounds like a major gamble so early into the season, but that’s exactly what White pine High School boy’s soccer coach Leif Tokerud did on Sept. 19 and 20.
Despite losing 3-0 to North Tahoe and 6-0 to Incline, first-time starting Bobcat keeper Seth Robertson made all kinds of plays in his debut.
“He had a lot of saves,” Tokerud said.
Robertson finished the weekend with 36 total saves, 10 coming against North Tahoe and another 26 against Incline. Tokerud said he wished the defense didn’t allow so many shots on goal but he was impressed with Robertson’s ability to get in front of the ball as often as he did and lead the team from the goal.
“Incline just kept pounding Seth in the goal in his first weekend but he did great,” Tokerud said. “The thing about Seth is that he is a really great leader and communicator from the back, which is step one to being a great goalie.”
The new keeper’s leadership might come from his ability to shake off a bad play and keep positive.
“No goalie is perfect,” Robertson said. “You have to realize that a few are going to get past you. All you can do is stop the ones that you can and continue to try and help your team as much as possible.”
Outside of the goal, the coach said small mistakes, such as missed passes made it difficult for his young team to get into any offensive rhythm. The breakdown in the passing game caused Tokerud and his assistant coaches to dedicate significant time to the fundamental skill during the team’s Tuesday practice.
“We keep missing some simple things. We lose our technique because they get nervous and start hitting the ball of the wrong part of their feet. So we are trying to teach them to keep their composure and make the play,” Tokerud said.
There were still several positives to take away from the weekend despite the team failing to score any goals. Tokerud said he liked his team’s willingness to keep playing hard, even when the games were out of reach toward the end.
“It was a tough weekend because we played the lake schools. They are the premier soccer teams in the state. They can play with schools any size,” Tokerud said. “Obviously we lost, but the kids kept a good attitude and kept learning and improving throughout the game and that is all I can ask for.”
The Bobcats will have an extra day to get ready for Battle Mountain this week as they don’t have a Friday game. Instead, the Bobcats will face off against the Longhorns on the road on Sept. 27 at 11 a.m.