Garcia’s overtime goal lifts Incline boys to state title
The Incline boys’ soccer team captured the Class 2A state championship on Saturday following a game-winning goal in overtime by senior Anthony Garcia.
“It feels amazing to be honest,” said Garcia on winning a state championship. “I just saw the ball there and I was like, ‘I should just get it, just give it a try.’”
Garcia said he as just looking to flip the ball to the goalie expecting another defender to come make a play, but once the ball hit the back of the net, one thing crossed his mind.
“Victory, finally, victory,” said Garcia, who finished the game with two goals. “It’s been hard work all year and the past four years. Getting this trophy my senior year is amazing.”
The two teams ended a physical first half of play at North Tahoe Regional Park tied 0-0. About 10 minutes into the second half Incline sophomore Jamie Perez scored to give the Highlanders a 1-0 advantage. North Tahoe sophomore Alexander Guerrero evened the game midway through the half. Incline then took a 2-1 lead with less than only seconds left, but Lakers senior Luke Buchanan let the ensuing kickoff fly, finding the back of the net to force overtime.
“I was surprised it went in the goal,” said Incline sophomore goalie Erick Ramirez. “It caught me by surprise.”
Garcia would deliver Incline the state championship moments into overtime, launching the game-winning kick from the right side of the field.
“This meant the world to these guys,” said first-year Head Coach Pedro Salazar. “The second I took the job, they always asked, ‘Coach, what do you think, do we have enough fire power to be a state title team?’ I said, ‘Hey, you’ve got to learn how to work in the dark, and then you’ll shine in the bright.’”
Incline came into the state tournament with a 10-3-1 record and were the second seed after going 8-1-1 in league play. The Highlanders’ only blemishes during league play came against North Tahoe, playing to a 2-2 tie and suffering a 1-0 defeat.
The Highlanders also suffered an 8-1 loss to North Tahoe in last year’s Class 2A state championship game.
“These guys are a hungry group of young men,” added Salazar. “They lost big games last year, and this year with me being a new head coach and me knowing them, I thought the chemistry from the second I took the job was going to be there. It was just them believing in what I do and how I go out my philosophy and me believing in them, which got us to where we wanted to be.”
Incline topped West Wendover 3-0 in Friday’s state semifinals game. Garcia led the team with a goal and an assist. Freshman Alexis Soto and senior Patricio Real each scored a goal. Senior Samuel Hillman assisted on two goals.
Incline last won a state championship in boys’ soccer in 2015.
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