Heads: Truckee wins
What exactly happened in the minds of the North Tahoe boys’ soccer team Tuesday afternoon may be difficult to pinpoint, but it was fairly obvious what was going through the Wolverines’ heads. Truckee came to North Tahoe to play and to win. Which is exactly what the Wolverines did.
In a lackluster effort by the Lakers and a motivated and well-executed performance by Truckee, the Wolverines handed North Tahoe its first loss of the year, 3-0. In doing so, Truckee avenged an earlier defeat by an indentical score at Surprise Stadium and moved into a first-place tie with North Tahoe at the end of the regular season in NIAA 3A Division I play.
A coin toss after the match determined Truckee as the regular season champion, therefore forcing North Tahoe to travel to Pahrump this weekend in the first round of the state playoffs. Truckee will host Division II school Manogue at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s going to be another tough road to win the state championship,” said North Tahoe coach Mike Simon. “We have to give Truckee plenty of credit. After we beat them they did their homework on us.”
Playing like shadows of a two-time defending state champion, the Lakers were caught numerous times by Truckee’s counterattack and could not muster a serious attack the entire game. Frustration permeated the Laker offense during the match.
“We just didn’t respond,” Simon said. “We’ll have to pull it together to win state. It’s a wake-up call.”
With the referees’ whistles blowing like a bandleader’s at a parade, four first-half yellow cards and a red card issued to a Truckee player, the game was physical and emotional, especially for the charged Wolverines.
Truckee’s first goal came just 8 minutes and 40 seconds into the game when Antuan Cannon at the right striker position received a beautiful cross from Elias Silver. With the Lakers’ defense unable to cover for the stalwart tri-captain and sweeper Will Wolford, who was upfield on a run, Cannon dribbled once before he drove a perfect shot to the right of Laker goalkeeper Erik Mumbert.
Seemingly shocked by the goal, the Laker somnambulists wandered through the rest of the half, but managed to keep the score 1-0.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half the Wolverines found the net again after a wonderfully struck ball by Jarrette Bower left Mumbert cemented in place. Truckee scored 10 minutes later when Silver and Cannon reversed roles and Silver blasted a shot to Mumbert’s right that was also a fine finish. The Lakers’ furious attack late in the game proved futile as the Truckee defense repeatedly collapsed any efforts.
“We knew we had to stop David Common and Mario Cervantes and if we could control those two, we could win the match,” said Wolverine coach Mike Holman. “They gave us the wings all day. We were able to keep the ball on the ground and play our kind of game – possession ball. But North Tahoe is a class act and so much fun to play against.”
The fading light of Tuesday’s North Tahoe- Truckee match illuminated the distinct possibility of a new state champion.
The Lakers saved their best for the last regular season match and for Truckee, defeating the Wolverines, 5-3.
Playing with composure and intelligence, the North Tahoe team held its own against perennial powerhouse and rival Truckee. But it didn’t necessary seem that way at the start of the match.
Less than five minutes into the first half, Truckee’s Rebecca Shook drew out Laker goalkeeper Laurel Shanley on the right side of the penalty area and threaded a perfect pass to Kristine Bena who tapped the ball into the goal.
But 10 minutes later the Lakers responded with two quick goals by Tracie Prado. The junior midfielder assisted on another goal late in the first half when she settled a ball on the right edge of the Truckee penalty box, pulled back the ball and quickly reversed direction back to the endline, where she crossed the ball to older sister Michelle. The senior striker directed the ball to the far post with her knee.
Truckee handled the Laker pressure and answered with another goal just before halftime after Shanley bobbled a shot.
Both teams had numerous opportunities throughout the second half after Truckee tied the match 3-3, with excellent play by Truckee’s Natalie Pratt and Shanley.
Once again Michelle Prado came through for the Lakers with less than five minutes left, beating the Truckee keeper after settling a loose ball in front of the net. Jessica Davis scored moments later to put the game out of reach for Truckee.
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