“We came out for the first time this season firing on all cylinders,” said Truckee head coach Casey Eberhardt, whose team dropped 3-1 and 4-2 decisions to the Railroaders earlier this season. “We worked all week on our shape and formation, and as the game went on we gained more confidence and were able to keep up that momentum. It was a great game by both teams.”
The scoreboard showed a scoreless deadlock at halftime but Truckee posted both of its goals after the break to capture the key conference win.
Eight minutes before the intermission, Truckee scored its first goal, which came off the foot of Jesse Fereira. The Wolverines tacked on an insurance score in the 62nd minute. Rolando Zarate tallied the second Truckee goal.
Sparks out-shot Truckee, but none of its 15 shots on goal found the net.
"Our offense didn't play as a team today," Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. "We struggled and Truckee adjusted some things. It was a very good, physical game. Our touch just wasn't there. We had four shots off the crossbar and two more off the side post. Still, it's nothing to panic about."
Sparks (20-1, 13-1) and Truckee (20-2, 13-1) are now tied atop the Sierra League standings.
"It was a very physical game and Truckee just outplayed us today," Avilla said. "It was not due to us not knowing the game. We just didn't put our game together and the ball wasn't falling. We're going to shore some things up. I'm kind of happy we get a little bit of a break to get our legs back. We'll keep working hard."
Eberhardt said the Wolverines worked all week on maintaining their formation on offense and keeping their marks defensively. He was pleased with the effort and execution.
“Pretty much the entire team played well. We talked about needing a total team effort, and we got it,” he said, adding that the Wolverines also tried to match Sparks' aggressiveness. “Our goal was to put high-intensity pressure on them, which is what they are kind of known for.”
The top two teams in the Division I-A North will likely meet again at least once, if not twice, in the postseason.
“It's definitely going to be a fight,” Fereira said. “They don't go down easy. It's going to be a rough one.”
Sparks is in action again when hosts South Tahoe Oct. 18.
After allowing an own goal in the seventh minute, the Truckee girls bounced back to score four unanswered goals in a 4-1 win.
Senior Olivia Duner scored the first of her two goals in the 29th minute, assisted by Kaylee Neil, to tie the score at 1-1. Senior Ashley Harris then gave the Wolverines the lead with an unassisted goal in the 35th minute.
In the second half, Duner pushed the lead to 3-1 on a free kick in the 66th minute, and Emma Warren rounded out the scoring with a goal assisted by Melissa Cardoza in the 68th minute.
“The beginning was a rough start,” said Truckee head coach Katie Jamison. “The girls were sluggish, but they picked it up.”
Truckee improved to 16-3-2 overall and 4-0-2 in league play.
Sylas Wright of The Sierra Sun contributed to this report