Truckee athletes bring home trophy from SoCal
Truckee High students Victor Islas and Emmanuel (Morro) Sarabia played for the Reno Moondogs U15 boys soccer team over Thanksgiving weekend and returned with the championship trophy from the Irvine Nike Harvest Cup.
With 456 teams entering the tournament, the Nike Harvest Cup is ranked 12th toughest in the nation and is classified as a platinum tournament because of the quality of teams. Games were played at 26 different locations in the Irvine area with the finals held on the campus of the University of California, Irvine.
As members of the winning team, Islas and Sarabia also had the opportunity to meet US National and LA Galaxy player Landon Donovan.
The Moondogs took part in five high-scoring games and finished with a record of 4-1, scoring a total of 19 goals for an average of almost four per game. In the qualifying game, the Moondogs came back from a 1-3 halftime deficit to win 4-3 against Del Sol, the No.1-ranked team from Arizona. Islas scored a goal immediately after the halftime break to get the Moondogs back on track.
Although the Moondogs lost their second game 2-4 to Paris St Germain, they bounced back to qualify for the semifinals by winning their third game 5-2 against SVSC Eclipse. Islas again found the net in the win on a well-timed header at the back post from a corner kick.
The Moondogs made it to the finals by shocking the tournament favorite Celtic Harps from San Bernardino ” one of the top 30 teams in the country ” with a 4-2 win the semifinal game. In securing the win, the Moondogs scored two unanswered goals in the second half after both teams were locked 2.
In the championship game, the Moondogs played the Porterville Juventus, one of the top teams from California, and won in overtime 3-2 after twice coming back from a goal down in regulation. Sarabia, playing as a sweeper, stepped up and frustrated the Juventus strikers by catching them offsides on numerous occasions.
“I was very proud of the boys,” said Moondogs head coach Barry Wardell. “The players were extremely tired by the time they got to the fifth and final game. We were down to only 11 fit players in the second half, so we had no substitutions available. But they showed tremendous character in digging deep and finding a way to pull off a remarkable win.
“When the-Reno and Truckee-areas combine and are able to put its best players in this age group on the field at the same time, they are capable of challenging any team in the country, and this tournament proved that. Victor Islas and Emmanuel (Morro) Sarabia are a credit to the community and deserve to be recognized.”
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