Truckee soccer | Boys shut out Spring Creek to open postseason

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sylas Wright / Sierra SunAustin Simonpietri hits ball toward the goal during the first half of the Wolverines' 3-0 playoff win against Spring Creek.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Against a more porous defense or a deflated effort, the final score could have easily swollen to 10-0.

But the Spring Creek boys’ soccer team didn’t travel five-plus hours across the state to just roll over for the Sierra League’s No. 2 seed.

Despite a scrappy effort by the visiting Spartans in Wednesday’s opening-round Northern 3A playoff game, particularly on the defensive end, the Wolverines proved too talented in the end as they carried a 1-0 halftime lead to a 3-0 win.

and#8220;I thought it was an OK game,and#8221; said Truckee head coach Casey Eberhardt, whose Wolverines advanced to face top-seeded Elko of the Humboldt League in the semifinal round Friday. and#8220;I didn’t think we played our game, especially in the first half. We weren’t making runs and weren’t talking. It was a little frustrating. We came out harder in the second half and got those two goals, but I thought we could play better as a team.and#8221;

The Wolverines struck in the first minute and a half to put the Spartans in an early 1-0 hole. Nash McMullen got his head on a corner kick by Jose Sarabia directly in front of the goal, slipping it past junior keeper Andrew Bonich.

Bonich made a number of nice saves on the day, while his defense denied several near-goals by the Wolverines with its aggressive play.

and#8220;They had a good defensive effort,and#8221; Truckee head coach Casey Eberhardt said of the Spartans. and#8220;The big thing for them was pressuring us. They were also a physical and tall team.and#8221;

Truckee entered with a pretty solid defense itself, as starting defenders Ben Brown, Michael Reynaud and Reed McMullen, as well as goalie Ignacio Diaz, had allowed only three goals in 12 league games and#8212; all to Sparks. Their stingy ways were evident Wednesday as they held the Spartans to few scoring opportunities.

Nine minutes into the second half, Truckee junior Colten Roderigue fired a hard, low shot that snuck under the block of Bonich to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Wolverines controlled possession almost exclusively the remainder of the contest but continually failed to score as the Spring Creek defense kept up its pressure. In the 59th minute, however, Nash McMullen sent a long through ball to Johnny Zarate, who slotted it into the back of the net to give Truckee a 3-0 lead.

and#8220;I think we had a little more steam in the first half,and#8221; said Spring Creek head coach Leaf Knotts. and#8220;They were trying to win balls knowing it was only 1-0, but that second goal kind of took the wind out of our sails.and#8221;

Nash McMullen said that while the Wolverines were pleased to advance to the next round of the regional tournament, they know they can play better – and they will likely need to against Elko in a game they need to win in order to move on to the state tournament.

and#8220;We didn’t play to our potential, but we got through it and that’s all that matters,and#8221; McMullen said.

After the game, as Spring Creek players and coaches gathered in front of their bench to reflect on their season, a couple of Spartans snuck up behind Knotts and attempted to dump a water cooler over his head. But they were a little overanxious, and instead of pouring it on him, they clobbered him in the back with the cooler while only managing to dampen one leg with the water.

But Knotts was a good sport.

and#8220;The water wasn’t that bad,and#8221; he said. and#8220;It was getting hit that was.and#8221;

Truckee improved to 18-3-1 overall with the win, while Spring Creek finished the season 14-6-1 overall. The Wolverines will face Elko in a regional semifinal game Friday at Churchill County High School in Fallon.

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