Thursday afternoon’s regular-season finale against Whittell didn’t turn out to be much of a challenge as the Railroaders rolled at home to a 5-0 victory.
Roger Garcia scored two first-half goals on assists by Hector Hernandez and Edgar Casillas in the 10th and 19th minutes and Sparks enjoyed that edge at the break.
For the next 40 minutes, the Railroaders couldn’t build on their lead, but that changed in the 60th minute when Casillas scored on a breakaway.
Four minutes later, defender Noe Espana booted a ball downfield over the top of everyone. Hernandez took the pass and showed off his dribbling skills, cutting back with three changes of direction. He then sent a ball to the left and Eric Ojeda drilled a shot off the far post, which deflected off the inside of the opposite post and into the back of the net for a 4-0 edge.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Alvaro Medina scored an unassisted goal to account for the final 5-0 margin.
“We were lethargic. It’s too be expected. It’s an emotional day for the boys,” Sparks boys soccer Frank Avilla said. “We’re going to have to play harder and with more discipline going into the playoffs. I think the boys are ready for that challenge. It’s been a wonderful year. They’ve had some adversity and risen through it. I’m proud of them.
“Please recognize my assistant coaches Joel Martinez and Chava Espana. They’re very good tactical coaches. They’re working as hard as anyone else with the kids.”
Sparks (21-0-1, 11-0-1) will host a first-round playoff game Wednesday at 3 p.m.
•On the girls side, the Railroaders won’t be headed to the postseason, but at least they ended the season with a game they will always remember.
Andrea Gumina scored two girls to lift Sparks to a 2-0 victory over Whittell.
Sparks girls soccer coach Jerry Miller said the first half was pretty dull and sluggish on both sides, but he talked with the seniors at halftime, and the Maroon and Gold dominated in the second 40 minutes.
In the 46th minute, Gumina scored from about 25 yards out on an assist by Zaira Lara.
Three minutes later, Gumina scored on a corner kick. Maria Sanchez was credited with the assist.
Miller said the seven seniors will be missed.
Sparks out-shot the Warriors 16-7. The Railroaders earned six corners, while Whittell had none.
Senior Monica Parra had four saves in the shutout.
Sparks finishes the season at 2-12-2 overall and 2-9-1 in league.