Truckee soccer | Wolverines rout Elko late, advance to state championship

Martin Harris
Elko Daily Free Press
Martin Harris / Elko DailyTruckee's Rolando Zarate and Elko's Erick Ayala contend for possession of the ball during Friday's state semifinal game at Fernley. Truckee won 4-0 and will face Sparks in the state championship game Saturday.

FERNLEY, Nev. and#8212; It was a close game that turned into a rout in a matter of minutes as the Truckee boysand#8217; soccer team knocked off Elko 4-0 Friday in the 3A state semifinals in Fernley.

The Wolverines scored three goals in the final 12 minutes to blow open a 1-0 contest.

and#8220;We had opportunities right off the bat,and#8221; Tribe coach Randy Shelley said. and#8220;We should have pulled the trigger a few more times.and#8221;

The Indians did get a good look at an early goal, but they were turned away. Overall, their offense struggled to threaten Wolverines. The Truckee midfield and forwards possessed the ball the majority of the game.

and#8220;Our biggest thing was playing our style of soccer,and#8221; Truckee coach Casey Eberhardt said. and#8220;One or two passes and moving on and off the ball. Itand#8217;s hard to defend, and we did it well tonight.and#8221;

The game remained scoreless until the final few minutes of the first half. The Wolverinesand#8217; Nash McMullen scored the gameand#8217;s first goal.

Despite the Indiansand#8217; best efforts, the goal turned out to be enough.

The Elko defense kept the game close as Truckee made repeated runs deep into the Tribe territory. Keeper Miguel Romero made a point-blank stop of a shot attempt by Truckeeand#8217;s Johnny Zarate.

As the ball came out, Elkoand#8217;s Wade Fry made a sliding attempt at the ball but was issued a yellow card as a Truckee player went down. On the ensuing direct kick, Romero made another stop. He finished with double-digit saves.

The Wolverines, however, continued to pressure the Elko defense.

In the 68th minute, the Wolverinesand#8217; Rolando Zarate got a one-on-one opportunity with Romero and was able to sneak one past the keeper for a 2-0 lead.

Eberhardt said the second goal was crucial to blowing the game open.

and#8220;I was able to get some fresh legs in there and sub some guys in,and#8221; he said. and#8220;I also think the second goal opened up our passing game because we had them on their heels a little more.and#8221;

In the 75th minute, the Indians were whistled for a violation just outside of the box and to Romeroand#8217;s right.

The Wolverinesand#8217; Thomas Arnstein took the kick, and teammate Ben Brown was able to get his head on the ball for the score.

About 60 seconds later, Ruben Diaz capped off the scoring as he made it 4-0 on a breakaway opportunity.

The Elko offense mustered just eight shots on goal, and Tyler Streif had four.

and#8220;We canand#8217;t hang our heads,and#8221; coach Shelley said. and#8220;My goal was to get to state this year. We got to state and played a great game.and#8221;

The Indians finish the season with a 17-10-2 record and will need to reload next year.

In addition to Streif, the most accomplished goal scorer in Elko High boys soccer history, the Tribe loses Romero, Brian Villegas, Sam Ankomah, Bernard Manuel, Damon Rasch, Erick Ayala, Christian Rodriguez, Marco Rodriguez, Pablo Cortez and Arnulso Cortez.

The Wolverines advance to the state title game Saturday at 2 p.m. against Sparks, which beat Virgin Valley in the other semifinal game.

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