Truckee soccer | Boys nip top-seeded Sparks in penalty kicks to win regional championship

Steve Puterski
Lahontan Valley News
Steve Puterski / Lahontan Valley NewsTruckee boys soccer players celebrate their win in penalty kicks against previously undefeated Sparks for the Northern 3A regional title on Saturday.

FALLON, Nev. and#8212; Game by game, the Truckee boys’ soccer team inched closer to slaying powerhouse Sparks.

After battling to a 2-2 tie on Oct. 20, the Wolverines needed penalty kicks to slip past the Railroaders and claim the 3A Northern regional soccer championship on Saturday.

Truckee won 3-2 (4-2 in the shootout), after the two clubs wrestled to a 2-2 draw after regulation. Neither side mounted much offense in overtime, although both clubs came close.

and#8220;It boiled down to us coming out and playing our game,and#8221; Truckee head coach Casey Eberhardt said. and#8220;It was our fourth time playing Sparks and each time it’s been a little bit better.and#8221;

Truckee’s tiny goalkeeper, Ignacio Diaz, came up big when his team needed him most. Diaz blocked two Sparks shots in the shootout and Truckee converted all four shots to clinch the No. 1 seed for the state tournament this Friday and Saturday.

Colten Roderigue, Jose Sarabia, David Martinez and Thomas Arnstein each scored in the shootout, while Sparks’ Noe Espana and Edgar Casillas each scored.

and#8220;Our defense is always solid,and#8221; Diaz said. and#8220;It just proves how good we are and that we can beat them at state.and#8221;

Diaz’s first save in penalty kicks came off the foot of Ruben Pacehco-Navarro. Navarro’s shot went left, and Diaz guessed correctly with a diving save to put Truckee up 2-1. Both teams responded and with Truckee leading 4-2, Sparks turned to Hector Hernandez to keep the game alive.

However, Hernandez’s shot was blocked by Diaz and the celebration commenced.

and#8220;I made two mistakes during the game, so I had to make it up them (the team) somehow,and#8221; Diaz said. and#8220;Sparks is a good team, but we have a lot of heart.and#8221;

In regulation, Truckee opened a 2-1 lead before halftime on goals by Arnstein and Sarabia. Both were beautiful volleys converted on long crosses.

Arnstein’s goal came 11 minutes into the match when Johnny Zarate sent a cross from the right side. Arnstein jumped and connected with his right foot, beating Sparks goalkeeper Mitchell Garcia.

Sparks tied the game when Erik Ojeda-Ayala beat Diaz. Ojeda-Ayala’s first shot was saved, but the rebound bounced back to him and he tapped it in. But Truckee answered.

Zarate again set up the goal. Driving down the left side, Zarate sent a ball into the box and found a sliding Sarabia, who put his right foot on it for the score.

and#8220;I want to send crosses through and have the opposite mate crashing,and#8221; Eberhardt said. and#8220;Finally, end of the year, end of the line … it just sparked for us.and#8221;

But Sparks answered in the second half when Pacheco-Navarro flicked a pass to Hernandez, who beat Diaz with a shot to tie the match.

and#8220;We knew that with high pressure, and if we could play our game of passing and making our runs, we could pass around them,and#8221; Eberhardt said.

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