Truckee boys soccer | Wolverines hungry for return to state championship |

Truckee boys soccer | Wolverines hungry for return to state championship

Truckee senior Michael Brixey does battle with a Spring Creek player last season. Brixey and the Wolverines hope to bounce back after a down year in 2009, when they lost to eventual champ Incline in the state semifinal.

The 2010 Wolverines are bigger and better than they were a year ago, and they’re as hungry as ever to prove last year was a fluky non-appearance in the state championship.

and#8220;We have pretty high expectations for our team. We expect to win our league and state,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Hernan Valdivia, whose Wolverines had won back-to-back state titles before falling to Incline in the state semifinal in 2009, when they finished 12-7-3 overall. and#8220;After having a little bit of a down year last year, the guys are hungry to get back to where we’re used to being.and#8221;

Make no mistake about it. Truckee is accustomed to playing for state title hardware. The Wolverines have won a Nevada boys record seven championships, which is one more than longtime rival North Tahoe. Last year, however, both teams watched Tahoe Basin foe Incline march through the season en route to the title.

This year it’s anyone’s for the taking, as South Tahoe, a successful program for decades at the 4A level, dropped to the Northern 3A Sierra League. Combine a Sparks team that narrowly lost to Incline in last year’s championship, an improved Whittell squad, and the always formidable trio of Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline, and the Sierra League is as stacked as ever.

and#8220;South Tahoe looks really strong, and our league is generally very strong, so I think it’s going to be exciting,and#8221; Valdivia said.

The problem last year for the Wolverines was inexperience and a lack of size across the board, the coach said.

and#8220;We were just young last year. That was it,and#8221; Valdivia said. and#8220;We had skill, but we were kind of young. But now I think with guys coming back with one year of experience makes a huge difference.

and#8220;We have a good returning group and#8212; a good mix of veterans and young guys,and#8221; the coach continued. and#8220;It’s really a talented group. It’s very encouraging. We’re very excited about the season.and#8221;

The Wolverines are anchored by four seniors, including returning first-team All-League forward Michael Brixey and first-team defender Bryan Reed, and a couple of juniors, while talented freshmen and sophomores fill out the rest of the 17-player roster.

and#8220;We have eight sophomores on the team, so even though we’re young in that way, experience-wise and talent-wise, we are going to be very tough to beat if we’re playing to our ability,and#8221; Valdivia said.

Brixey and senior forward Jason Apolinar, a second team All-League selection last year, will lead the offensive attack along with Colton Rodrigue and Fernando Rodrigue, Valdivia said, adding that Fernando Rodrigue and#8220;is a really nice additionand#8221; to the team. and#8220;If he and Michael can figure out how to play together, they are going to score a lot of goals as a tandem,and#8221; he said.

In the midfield, senior Easel Grass returns after earning second team All-League honors in and#8216;09, as well as second team defender Nash McMullen. Other returners include sophomores Jesse Fereira and Jonathan Zarate and junior Ben Brown.

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