Defending champ Lakers rout Wolverines
Every time North Tahoe and Truckee meet on the soccer field, it’s sure to be an exciting game.
But soccer fans who may have showed up to Dollar Hill Tuesday evening in hopes of seeing a well-balanced and hard-fought replay of last year’s 3A state final were surely disappointed ” as were any fans of Truckee soccer.
The Wolverines, who have showed much better this season than they did on Tuesday ” having not allowed a single goal ” were flat out-played off the field in the 6-0 route by the Lakers.
North Tahoe looked polished, clean and confident as a team. But the game belonged to senior forward Gerry Bolanos, who netted four goals on the night before being carried off the field by a crowd of ecstatic Laker fans.
While the Wolverines started the game giving the impression they were going to hang with North Tahoe, it didn’t take the Lakers long to jump all over their opponent.
In the eighth minute of play, Bolanos was fouled on the right flank. The senior co-captain took the restart quickly, finding Eric Holman on a long diagonal ball.
Bolanos didn’t waste any time running off the ball and streaked towards the goal, where Holman found the striker with a deftly chipped ball over the back line, which Bolanos brought down while holding off his man and slotted it low and into the corner of Truckee’s goal.
While Truckee’s level and speed of play was behind that of the Lakers’ from the start, the first goal widened that gap dramatically, and the Wolverines never even regained a foothold.
“Mentally, that took the wind out of their sails,” Truckee head coach Tom “Arnie” Arnstein said.
The second goal came when Bolanos collected a diagonal ball on the left flank and whipped a cross into his brother, John, whose first-time shot was blocked by Truckee goalkeeper Ryan Newland. North Tahoe’s Stefan Glander one-timed the rebound back into the crowd, where it ricocheted into the near post to put the Lakers up by 2.
As North Tahoe celebrated, a skirmish broke out at midfield ” evidence of Truckee’s frustration.
North Tahoe continued to walk all over the Wolverines with quick passing and a confidence on the ball that will be difficult, if not impossible, to stifle by any of Nevada’s 3A teams.
In the 23rd minute, the Bolanos brothers again connected when John neatly laid a cross off to his brother, who took a touch at the edge of the penalty area and unleashed that left foot of his to bury the ball in the back of the net and put North Tahoe up by 3 going into halftime.
On paper, Bolanos’ performance seemed to be a one-man show, but the performance North Tahoe put out as a team was downright impressive, and head coach Beto Alcaraz knew it.
“Even though Gerry scored four goals, this was a team effort,” Alcaraz said.
When the second half started, it quickly became evident that Truckee would remain on the ground with North Tahoe standing over and refusing to let its rival up.
The battle was mostly lost in the midfield, with Holman taking control when and where he wanted, and Truckee’s key playmaker, Max Brixey, all but absent and visibly frustrated.
In a display of his masterful ball skills, Holman received a ball on the left flank, took it by his mark and bent a lovely shot from the corner of the 18 over Newland and into the upper far post side netting for the first goal of the second half ” North Tahoe’s fourth of the game.
Before long, hats were flying on the field from the immense crowd of North Tahoe faithful packed in on the sideline after Bolanos netted his third goal off a flubbed clearance from Newland right to an unmarked Bolanos, who took the gift on the edge of the 18.
The senior wasn’t happy with a give-me hat-trick, however, as he collected yet another nicely played through-ball and with a lovely touch passed Newland slipped in his fourth goal of the evening to put North Tahoe up 6-0 just minutes before the final whistle.
While both teams’ previous performances this season indicated a more evenly played game, a very happy Alcaraz said that while he didn’t really expect such a blowout, he would never predict anything when it comes to a Truckee-North Tahoe game.
“You never know what to expect,” Alcaraz said of the rivalry.
But after spending the weekend at the Del Campo tournament in Sacramento, where North Tahoe went 1-3 against top-division California teams in high-paced games, Alcaraz said his squad’s level of play was in peak form.
“One thing’s for sure,” Alcaraz said “these boys were ready.”
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