North Tahoe soccer | Elko too strong for Laker boys

Martin Harris
Elko Daily Free Press
Martin Harris / Elko DailyNorth Tahoe's Nico Monforte converges on a ball during the Lakers' 4-0 at Elko on Wednesday.

ELKO, Nev. and#8212; From the opening minute to the final whistle, the Elko boysand#8217; soccer team controlled its first-round game against North Tahoe as the Tribe went on to a 4-0 win over the Lakers in the Northern 3A Regional Tournament.

Just two minutes into the game, the Indians caught a break as North Tahoe keeper Alex Bourriague lost his footing. It left Brian Villegas with an open look at the goal, and he converted.

North Tahoe coach Beto Alcaraz and Elko coach Randy Shelley both acknowledged it was an early turning point.

and#8220;I think we played well, but Elko capitalized on the goal-scoring opportunities they had,and#8221; Alcaraz said. and#8220;We didnand#8217;t capitalize on the opportunities we had.and#8221;

The Tribeand#8217;s defense made sure the Lakers did not get many chances to score. The Indiansand#8217; starting defensive unit of Erick Ayala, Marco Rodriguez, Wade Fry and Austin Sherwood suffocated every North Tahoe attack. The Lakers finished the game with maybe six shots on goal.

and#8220;The defense really stepped it up and did everything I wanted them to do,and#8221; Shelley said. and#8220;When North Tahoe did take a shot, they were right there to distract them or stop it. The midfield played great defense too. (Goalie) Miguel (Romero) is the director of the defense. He communicates so well.and#8221;

In the 33rd minute, the North Tahoe defense slipped up again and#8212; literally. Elkoand#8217;s Tyler Streif took possession of the ball as the defender who was marking the Tribeand#8217;s leading scorer slipped and fell. Streif was left with a one-on-one with Bourriague. Bourriague made a dive at the ball, but Streifand#8217;s shot sailed over him and into the goal.

The Indians added to their advantage in the second half and had several good opportunities to make the final score really lopsided.

In the 56th minute, Streif placed a perfect kick from about 40 yards away into the top, left corner of the goal for a 3-0 lead.

Two minutes later, Villegas beat the last North Tahoe defender down the field for a one-on-one with the goalie. He was grabbed from behind by the defender, but Villegas maintained the advantage. However, the official blew his whistle and rewarded the Lakers for the foul. Instead of an easy score, Villegas was forced to take a direct kick from just outside the box.

The direct kick deflected off the wall of North Tahoe defenders, and Andres Torresand#8217; follow did not make it into the net. Streif missed out on a hat trick as he sent a point-blank shot just over the crossbar.

Despite the miss, Shelley was pleased with his teamand#8217;s offensive performance.

and#8220;Our shot-to-goal ratio was impressive,and#8221; Shelley said. and#8220;That was Tylerand#8217;s best game all year.and#8221;

In the 73rd minute, Villegas finished off the scoring. He took a pass from Brendan Shelley and drilled home the goal.

With the win, Elko improves to 16-8-2 on the season and travels to Fallon for a regional semifinal game Friday against Truckee, which beat Spring Creek 3-0 Wednesday. The winner of that game will clinch a spot in the state tournament.

North Tahoeand#8217;s season ends after a solid year and a fourth-place finish in the Sierra League.

and#8220;Iand#8217;m very proud of how our boys played,and#8221; Alcaraz said. and#8220;From where we came at the beginning of the season to now, I can see the difference in how weand#8217;re playing.and#8221;

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