Truckee squad develops finesse
Tahoe-Truckee Wolverine head soccer coach Mike Holman may have been hit with a sense of deja vu at his first practice of the 1999 season.
“I coached almost this exact team as JV players in 1997,” said Holman, referring to a season when he coached the under-19 boys’ club during the spring, “and they lost only one game scoring 103 goals to three … [our opponents] were junior varsity when we were JV.”
Coming off a disappointing season where they were edged out of a state championship by one goal – a 1-0 loss to their rivals from North Tahoe, representing the Wolverine’s only loss in league – Tahoe-Truckee’s prospects this year are extremely hopeful.
Despite having lost eight starting seniors from last year’s team that had 17 shutouts and scored 122 goals while only being scored on 10 times, this year’s team still has, according to Holman, a solid core of players and experience.
“What’s unique is that for the first time almost all of our players are year-round players,” said Holman, indicating that most of the team’s members participate in club soccer during the spring and indoor soccer during the winter.
This factor has contributed to a stylistic facelift. The Wolverine squad, though in the past being more physical, has morphed into a team with more finesse, demonstrating a “much better possession/passing game,” said Holman.
“And what the team lacks in stature,” said Holman, “they make up for in experience and skill.”
Holman said this year’s players demonstrate “a lot of team unity.”
“There’s a great chemistry on and off the field,” Holman said, “the kids have a lot of respect for each other. Their goal is to be number one and if all the pieces fall together, it will happen.”
The Tahoe-Truckee squad is led by team captains Juan Aguilar, Chris Holman and Gabe Valle, all of whom are seniors.
Aguilar is a fourth-year player at the marking back (left defense) position. Holman described Aguilar as being a very strong player who is extremely aggressive.
Holman will be playing as the flank midfielder.
“He’s got good speed and great distribution,” said coach Holman. “We’re looking for him to be a key part of our attack.”
Finally, at the goalkeeper position, is Valle, about whom coach Holman spoke very highly.
“I consider him to be the best goalie in the league,” said coach Holman. “He’s a real presence back there and a real team leader. The team relaxes knowing he’s back there.”
Brand new to the squad is senior Gustavo Candiotto, who is an exchange student from Brazil.
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The two-time defending state champion Truckee baseball team opened league play in style last weekend, taking a three-game sweep of Sparks.