Truckee soccer | Senior-heavy boys look to regain championship swagger | SierraSun.com

Truckee soccer | Senior-heavy boys look to regain championship swagger

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

File photoSenior midfielder Nash McMullen, shown in a playoff game against Spring Creek last season, returns as one of the Wolverines' top players.

The last time the Truckee boys’ soccer team won a state championship, its currently stacked senior class was in the eighth grade.

It’s safe to say the Wolverines and#8212; with a Nevada-record seven state championships to their name and#8212; feel they are due for another.

and#8220;That’s a goal for us every year, is to go to state and win it, and I think it is even more so this year with this group of seniors we have. They really want a state title,and#8221; said second-year head coach Casey Eberhardt, who led Truckee to a state runner-up finish last year with final record of 21-4-1. and#8220;This group of seniors hasn’t won a state title, so that’s their main goal.and#8221;

The Wolverines lost in the state semifinal round in 2009 and 2010 after winning back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008 and three state championships in a four-year span.

Last year, they dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to Sparks in the state final. And they haven’t forgotten.

and#8220;It’s definitely a loss we want to avenge,and#8221; said Eberhardt, whose Truckee team will open its season against Sparks at the Howell Memorial Tournament and#8212; aka the Galena Tournament and#8212; this weekend. and#8220;That’s one of the reasons why we’re kind of excited we get to play them right off the bat. We’ll get to see what they have and how they match up with us before we get into the season.and#8221;

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Eberhardt is encouraged by what he’s seen so far. The Wolverines return 10 seniors, two juniors and two sophomores from last year’s team, which leaves them loaded with talent and depth.

They did, however, lose one of their biggest offensive threats in first-team All-State forward Johnny Zarate, as the speedy senior transferred to McQueen in the offseason. But even without him and#8212; they also lost defenders Ben Brown and Michael Reynaud to graduation and#8212; Eberhardt is not concerned.

and#8220;We will still have a very strong offense this year,and#8221; he said. and#8220;We’re pretty excited with it. Without Johnny we have 10 returning senior players, so we have a lot of experience, and a lot of them have played varsity all four years.and#8221;

The deep roster of skilled players gives Eberhardt plenty of options for a starting 11. In fact, he has yet to pin one down.

and#8220;The starting lineup is going to be kind of evolving. We have so many good players this year that (assistant coach) Scott (Eberhardt) and I have tons of options. Nothing is really set yet,and#8221; he said. and#8220;We have a lot of utility players we’ll be moving around. At the Galena Tournament we’re going to be trying a lot of people out in different positions to see what works best. I think it’s going to be a game-by-game decision on who’s starting.and#8221;

Without Zarate in the mix, Eberhardt said he expects big offensive contributions from seniors Jesse Fereira, Fernando Rodriguez, Nash McMullen and Colten Roderigue, to name a few. Other senior impact players include Austin Simonpietri, Reed McMullen, Ruben Diaz, Jose Sarabia, Nico Kuyper and goalie Nacho Diaz, while juniors Rolando Zarate and Armando Diaz and sophomores Thomas Arnstein and David Martinez also return from last year’s team.

In addition, Truckee’s 20-man roster includes juniors Will Krengle, Alic Funk and Max Barta, sophomores Leo Villa and Jordan Fereira, and freshman Gabby Serna.

and#8220;We’re going to be a pretty quick team. With some of the younger kids coming in, we have a lot of fast forwards up top,and#8221; Eberhardt said. and#8220;So I think our tempo and the speed of our game is going to pick up this year, which I’m excited about. But we’re still going to stick with our original possession and pass-and-move style of soccer.and#8221;

As far as Truckee’s Mount Rose League pod, Eberhardt expects two-time defending champion Sparks to again field a dangerous team. He also anticipates South Tahoe being tough, and potentially longtime rivals North Tahoe and Incline. and#8220;We’ll just have to wait and see.and#8221;

UP NEXT: Truckee will open its season with four games in the Howell Memorial Tournament, which features one-hour games (25-minute halves) and 10 schools. The Wolverines kick off the tourney against Sparks on Friday at 10 a.m. They then face Faith Lutheran on Friday at 2 p.m., Elko on Saturday at 11 a.m. and Douglas on Saturday at 1 p.m.