Truckee soccer | Boys edged by Sparks in state championship

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
John Byrne / Daily Sparks TribuneTruckee junior Nash McMullen chases after the Railroaders' Edgar Luna during the Wolverines' 1-0 loss in the state championship game Saturday.

After 80 minutes of gritty, all-out effort between the two best 3A soccer teams in the state, a single goal in the 65th minute was all that prevented the Wolverines from bringing the title back to Truckee.

The Truckee boys, winners of a Nevada-record seven state championships, will have to wait another year for a shot at redemption.

This year belonged to Sparks, which edged Truckee 1-0 in an evenly matched state championship in Fernley on Saturday to claim its first-ever boys’ soccer title.

and#8220;They took it hard,and#8221; Truckee head coach Casey Eberhardt said of his players, and#8220;because everybody wants a state championship, and we were so close. We just came up a little short.and#8221;

The Railroaders (23-1-1) entered the match with only one loss all season, which came against the Wolverines (21-4-1) in the regional championship, in penalty kicks. Truckee also handed Sparks its only tie of the year.

The difference in the final meeting was senior Roger Garcia, who broke a scoreless tie with 15 minutes remaining to lift Sparks to the 1-0 win.

According to the Daily Sparks Tribune, the Railroaders’ Edgar Casillas took a throw-in from near the corner of the right side of the field, deep in Truckee territory. After a flurry of action in the box, Hector Hernandez gathered a deflected shot and sent a cross to the far post, where Garcia seemingly came out of nowhere to head it into the back of the net for the game’s only score.

and#8220;We had our chances. They just didn’t go our way,and#8221; said Eberhardt, whose Wolverines had what they thought was the go-ahead goal in the first half called back because of a foul.

and#8220;I felt like it was a very evenly matched game. I thought we dominated possession of the game as far as passing and moving through them. But it’s soccer and anything can happen, and it just didn’t go our way.and#8221;

After Truckee controlled the action in the first half, the Railroaders picked up their intensity after the break and began creating more opportunities.

and#8220;We were too emotional,and#8221; Sparks head coach Frank Avilla told the Sparks Daily, talking about the first half. and#8220;We were too worried about what other people were doing to us instead of taking charge of the field. We pulled the seniors together, and they believed.

and#8220;You saw a different type of athlete in the second half. We had to win 50-50 balls. We struggled with that at times in the first half. Then we started flooding and playing our game instead of letting Truckee dictate what they were going to do to us.and#8221;

Despite the heartbreaking loss after coming so far, Eberhardt said he was encouraged by his team’s overall performance and improvement over the course of the season, which was his first as head coach.

and#8220;I’m very pleased making it to the state final. That’s huge,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It gives us something to work on for next year, to go and get the state championship now. But I felt like it was a great season. I wish we could have won state, but it was still very successful.and#8221;

Even more encouraging, Eberhardt said, is the talented crop of athletes he has returning next year. Truckee loses only two starters and three seniors total from this team, while a number of skilled underclassmen are set to join the ranks next season and beyond.

and#8220;We have really good freshmen and sophomores coming up, so we should be a well-oiled team again next year,and#8221; Eberhardt said.

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