Truckee, Incline clash in soccer showdown
Hitting head on for the second time this season, the Truckee Wolverines hosted the Incline Highlanders for the final regular season battle between the two local rivals.
Each and every player had a fire in their eyes taking the pitch at Truckee’s Surprise Stadium as the outcome of the games determined not only the Northern Nevada 3A league champion in the case of the boys, but a last chance for senior players to chisel their local legacy against their neighbors. Truckee proved dominant in both matches as the Lady Wolverines defeated the Highlanders 3-0, while the Wolverine boy’s team netted a goal in the very last minute of the game to win 3-2 and crush the visiting Highlander’s dreams of an upset.
Even play dominated by lofting through balls and hard tackling defensive saves had all the girls on the field running rabid throughout the first half. Incline created several good opportunities but just couldn’t get a solid shot on net. The Wolverines also attacked diligently but it wasn’t until a corner kick that they shot anything on target.
Wolverine Kennedy Power came up from the sweeper position to head in the well placed corner putting Truckee up 1-0. The Wolverines took the one goal lead into halftime.
In the second half the Wolverines started to show even greater control as the Highlanders were forced onto the defensive. Though Incline did an admirable job clearing out several gunning Truckee attacks, the Highlander gauntlet fell again 10 minutes into the half as Wolverine Stephanie O’Neil took two long dribbles into the penalty box and buried a shot in the far side netting. Now down by two, Incline’s spirit was anything but defeated as the Highlanders fought back hard on the strength of goal keeper Sasha Severance and midfielders Kelli Cherry and Ashley Donaldson. Truckee kept pounding the Incline defense however, as Wolverine players such as Adele Shaffer and Katie Dill deftly brought the ball upfield time and again. The final Truckee goal came late in the half as Kelsi Decker collected a shot deflection and fired it back into the net to settle the score at 3-0. Taking the win, Truckee head coach Amy Valdivia was impressed with both teams effort.
“Gotta give it to Incline. They came out hard and played much better than our first encounter,” said coach Valdivia. “I’m really proud of my girls as well. It was their third game in four days and they settled down and pulled off another win.”
The win kept alive the Wolverines undefeated 6-0-0 record in league play and brought their overall record to 16-2-0. The girls next game is October 28th on the road against Galena High School.
There was no doubt in anyone’s mind, not players, fans, nor coaches, that anything could happen in this second match-up of the two best boys teams in Northern Nevada. Both teams took the field with the explosive power and confidence of having won every other league contest they played, other than their last match up, in which they tied at Incline. The first twenty minutes of the match control went back and forth as Truckee struggled to penetrate the Incline defense while the Highlanders couldn’t put together many solid shots either. Highlander Alex Reyes was the first to mark his name on the game as Incline took a deflected pass off a Truckee freekick and passed it across the goal to Reyes who tic-tacked a dribble or two before rifling a shot past Wolverine goalie Ryan Newland. Reyes celebrated his goal like he had scored in the World Cup finals.
The Incline celebrations were short lived, however, as only six minutes later Wolverine leading scorer Max Brixey banged home a Robby Heck corner kick to even the score at 1-1. It was looking as if the tie would hold until the half, but with just three minutes left to play, Highlander Ruben Camacho juked a Truckee defender in the box and blasted a shot across the goal to put Incline back up 2-1. Again, Incline was over joyed to take back the lead.
Coming out of the half down a goal, Truckee noticeably stepped up the intensity level. Barrelling head long into fifty-fifty balls and sliding for every tackle, the Wolverine pressure was daunting, but the Highlanders didn’t back down keeping up their own attack on the fleet feet of Camacho and others. The grudge match got a little more aggressive as the clock wound down. Several players were yellow carded on both teams for rough play and unsportsman-like conduct and language.
Just as Truckee fans began to cringe with barely ten minutes left to play, Senior center midfielder Brixey flicked a looping pass to Salavador Tejeda that the fellow senior two -touched home for the tying goal. Stunned by drawing even, Incline took the ensuing kickoff and began to regroup. Each of the next nine minutes was more fierce a battle than the minute before as both teams flailed back and forth knocking through balls up to their attackers. The clocked stopped at two minutes so the suspense of when the whistle would blow held everyone gripped while the final plays went down. But just as it looked to be settled as a tie, Truckee’s Raul Cardenas broke away down the right side of the box and passed a nice ball across the goal to Brixey, who passed it on to Jason Apolinar who fired home the game winner in the 79th minute. Despite one more vicious Incline shot in the final 30 seconds, the game held at 3-2 and Truckee took home the win.
“I’m thrilled with how we responded in the second half,” said Truckee head coach Hernan Valdivia. ” Last game they outplayed us in the midfield but not today.”
The win settled Truckee’s league record to 6-0-1 and clinched the first seed for the Wolverines going into the 3A playoffs. The Wolverines play next October 28th on the road against Galena High School.
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