Truckee soccer | Boys dominate regional semifinal against Elko | SierraSun.com

Truckee soccer | Boys dominate regional semifinal against Elko

Steve Ranson
Sun News Service

Steve Ranson/Sun News ServiceJonathan Zarate, left races to beat Elko's Damon Rasch to the ball

FALLON, Nev. and#8212; Truckee had little difficulty Friday afternoon in manhandling Elko in the second round of the 2010 NIAA 3A Northern Region Boys Soccer Tournament at Fallon.

In fact, the Wolverines dominated from the first kick to the official’s final whistle in posting a 7-0 shutout.

Truckee, the No. 2 seed from the Sierra League, plays Sparks at noon on Saturday for the championship, while the Humboldt League’s top seed, Elko, faces South Tahoe at 10:30 a.m. at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex to decide the third and final state seed.

Truckee coach Hernan Valdivia said he was surprised by the margin of victory but not by his team’s play.

and#8220;We were really focused, really prepared for today,and#8221; he said after having a quick team meeting with his players before heading home. and#8221;We played a good 80 minutes from the first guy on the bench to the last guy on the bench.and#8221;

Valdivia said he was shocked by the 7-0 score because Elko dominated most of the teams in the Humboldt League.

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Elko coach Chris Hooiman didn’t have an answer for the Indians’ play.

and#8220;We got outplayed, and they played with a lot of effort,and#8221; said a disappointed Hooiman. and#8220;They are very well coached.and#8221;

Truckee’s quickness in beating Elko back on defense or winning the ball made the difference.

The Wolverines first scored at 9:57 when Michael Brixey took a pass and then shot the ball to the right side just inside the net. Prior to the shot, Elko had taken several shots on goal, but Truckee cleared the ball out on a long shot downfield.

The key to Truckee’s fist-half success rested with its passing and dominance in the corners. Nine minutes later, Easel Grass crossed the ball to the left to Jonathan Zarate before he slammed the ball in for Truckee’s second score.

Truckee’s patience paid off for the rest of the second half. The Wolverines took their time setting up their offense and moving the ball continually to the outside.

The Wolverines’ defense overwhelmed the Indians late in the first half, allowing Colten Rodrigue’s shot to find its way into the net for a 4-0 lead.

Elko showed some life before halftime, but three shots on goal were stopped.

Hooiman said the Truckee players understood first touch and passing when executing their defense.

and#8220;Those guys know they need to take the shots and take those opportunities,and#8221; he said of Truckee. and#8220;For me it boils down to effort.and#8221;

A combination of Truckee’s determination on offense and Elko’s unforced errors led to Truckee scoring three second-half goals.

Seventeen minutes into the second half, Jason Apolinar drilled a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar, hit the Elko goalie and rolled into the net. Elko fell behind 6-0 at 61:29 when the Elko goalkeeper tried the clear the ball, but it hit a teammate in the face and the ball rolled toward Richie Espinoza, who kicked it in.

With less than nine minutes remaining, Jose Sarabia scored from the right side.

and#8220;We put a lot of pressure on them,and#8221; Valdivia said. and#8220;We really didn’t allow them a lot … we got them off their groove.and#8221;

Valdivia said he was equally proud of his defense, which posted 11 shutouts during the regular season.

Hooiman said Elko must refocus against South Tahoe.

and#8220;Today, we beat ourselves. We didn’t come prepared, and I need to get them prepared,and#8221; he said of his team.

Hooimna knows the stakes are high against South Tahoe. Win, and the Indians join the Wolverines at state. Lose, and the season is finished.

The former Elko player said he is fired up about playing the Vikings, and he hopes his team is as well.

Hooiman was an all-state defender on the 2005 Elko squad that finished state runner-up to South Tahoe.