Too strong to stifle
The North Tahoe boys soccer team was dealt an interesting hand at Incline on Tuesday, but the Lakers came through on two set pieces to drown out the Highlanders 2-0.
North Tahoe improved to 4-0-1 in the Northern 3A and 9-3-2 overall.
According to head Laker soccer coach Beto Alcaraz, Incline came out with a five-man back line and a four-man midfield in front of that, attempting to clog up the middle of the park and slow down North Tahoe’s high speed of play and ball movement.
Alcaraz said that for the most part, the plan worked, and Incline’s emphasis on defense slowed things down even when North Tahoe tried to use the flanks and move the ball wide.
“We tried to spread the field,” Alcaraz said. “But they were right there.”
In the end, it was a corner kick and a penalty kick that gave the Lakers its two-point victory.
Gerry Bolanos has been the tip of the spear for North Tahoe so far this season, scoring in just about every contest ” often more than once ” and Tuesday was no different. Bolanos made good on a corner kick to put the Lakers up by one.
North Tahoe’s second goal came on a John Bolanos breakaway. Bolanos beat the goalkeeper, who then fouled the Laker forward, resulting not only in a North Tahoe penalty kick but also in a red card issued to the Highlander keeper for committing a foul as the last man back.
Senior Ricardo Cervantes converted the penalty kick to put North Tahoe up 2-0.
While the Highlanders’ heavily defensive formation kept them from mounting much of an attack, Alcaraz said that Incline did manage some excellent shots on goal, which senior goalkeeper Michele Basile came up huge on to hold the shutout.
Alcaraz said that while he has a lot of players sick or injured, and Incline’s unorthodox formation slowed things down, he was satisfied with the Lakers’ performance.
“I think we played well,” Alcaraz said.
Playing against an eight-man defense never leads to a pretty game, and Alcaraz understands that he will probably face similar defensive-minded strategies throughout the season, especially as the defending state champion.
“We know other teams are going to play us like that,” Alcaraz said. “Everybody wants to beat North Tahoe.”
The Lakers host Lowry on Friday at 3 p.m. and Sparks on Tuesday at 3 p.m.
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