North Tahoe, Incline soccer teams duke it out
Local prep soccer fans were in for a treat Thursday afternoon as the North Tahoe and Incline high soccer teams battled for North Shore bragging rights.
Both schools left partially satisfied as the North Tahoe girls came away with a 5-2 victory while the Incline boys defeated the Lakers 6-1.
While Incline looked to gain control at the start of the match, it was the Lakers who got on the scoreboard first in the eighth minute with a perfectly placed direct free kick by Dani Pranin that sailed over the goalie’s head to the back of the net.
Pranin’s goal opened up the floodgates as North Tahoe continued the first-half scoring barrage with a goal by Jenna Burnside in the 15th minute and another just three minutes later by Kelly Holman.
Stunned but not defeated, Incline showed it could put the ball in the net, too, as striker Kelli Cherry fired one in at the 28th minute to put the score at 3-1.
The Lakers responded well to the letdown, putting in two more goals in the next 10 minutes, one by Sage Clark and the other by Pranin. The half was looking to close at 5-1, but in the 40th minute Incline’s Sarah Scott knocked one more in to bring the score to 5-2 heading for the benches.
The second half was an out-and-out grudge match as both teams fought hard but struggled to find the net. After 40 more minutes of soccer, the score stood at 5-2.
“This was a solid win for us,” said North Tahoe assistant coach Seth Williams. “We came out and played quality soccer. Our defense was able to hold them off, and we finished on most opportunities.”
Taking the field as the lights came on and a gorgeous sunset unfolded, both teams looked charged up for an intense game. And a battle it was as Incline’s great ball control and North Tahoe’s speed seemed evenly matched as things got underway.
A direct free kick by Incline’s Alex Reyes that deflected off the goalie’s hands and into the charging path of Johnny Luna put Incline on the board first as Luna drilled the bouncing ball into the net in the 18th minute.
The 1-0 Incline lead held until halftime.
The Highlanders came alive early in the second half, scoring four goals in the first 25 minutes.
Midfielder Michael Ceragioli scored the first goal of the half, ripping a floater that sailed in, and Pedro Salazar scored another goal on a desperation cross from near the sideline that hit the back corner of the goal. Incline’s Alex Reyes got in on the scoring with a similar outside shot before Johnny Luna put away a penalty kick to bring the score to 5-0 with 15 minutes to play.
Despite the vicious Incline attack, the Lakers kept their game faces on and robbed Incline of a shutout with a direct free kick blast by Israel Ramirez that blew through a wall of defenders and rocketed past the Incline goalie to put the score at 5-1.
As the game drew to a close, the yellow cards started flying as both teams lost the spring in their step. Ceragioli still had what it took, however, as he one-touched a nice cross to the right side of the Laker goal to settle the final score at 6-1 just before the whistle.
“I thought we played really well,” said Incline head coach Tom Canino. “I don’t know when the last time was that we came to North Tahoe and beat them on their home field. We’re pretty happy about that.”