Since joining the 3A ranks in the 2004-05 school year, Sparks had beaten Truckee just once ever — in the 2004-05 regional playoffs. Tuesday’s triumph was the Railroaders' first over the Wolverines in regular season league play.
“Any time we can get a win against Truckee, it’s a great thing,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “But we’re not happy just beating Truckee. We want to play well all year.”
Truckee midfielder Clayton Hamill was credited with a goal after a Sparks miscue in its own defensive box. Michael Brixey was given the assist on the score that took place in the sixth minute.
The California school’s lead was short-lived. Sparks wasted little time knotting the match at a goal apiece. Abi Quintino handled the scoring honors for Sparks, leaving the score in a 1-1 deadlock with a goal at the nine-minute mark. Danny Ornelas gave away the assist.
Sparks got what proved to be the winning goal just a minute after halftime. Eric Ojeda buried an arcing corner kick into the net to account for the go-ahead score.
“I’d actually say we played really well. Sparks just played great,” fourth-year Truckee coach Hernan Valdivia said. “They did the little things. They didn’t wait for the ball and they took advantage of their chances. In general, they out-hustled us.”
Sparks got off 16 shots, but was limited to the two scores.
On the flip side, the Railroaders' defense was stellar, giving up just four shots on the day. SHS goalkeeper Javier Torres finished with three saves.
“Things came together. We played well,” Avilla said. “I’d like to finish more, but Truckee does have a great back line. We came out in the second half and really controlled the game.”
With the emotional win, the SHS squad improved to 8-0-2 overall and 1-0-1 in Lake League tilts.
Sparks does not get much time to rest after the key victory. The Railroaders are in action again today when they travel to play 4A Spanish Springs at SSHS. First kick is slated for 5:30 p.m.
“It’s going to be a fun game,” Avilla said. “All the boys get along with those kids, but we don’t want to lose any momentum. We’re going to play Spanish Springs hard. It will be a good fun, competitive match.”
•Sparks is much better this fall, but Truckee showed why it is still the class of the 3A North. The visiting Wolverines rolled to a 7-1 romp over Sparks Tuesday in Lake League play.
“We could’ve played a bit better but Truckee’s even stronger than they were last year,” Sparks coach Jerry Miller said. “I believe they have 10 returning all-league players. They’re loaded, but even with that, it’s still the best we’ve ever done against them. There’s still a gap, but we’re chipping away at the gap.”
Truckee’s Stephanie O’Neil posted a hat trick in the first 14 minutes of action. The Wolverines tacked on two more goals over the next 10 minutes, to build a 5-0 advantage.
Dennae Soto gave the Sparks girls their lone goal of the match when she found the net in the 27th minute. Jessica Mendoza provided the assist for the Railroaders.
The score remained at 5-1 into halftime. Truckee then put up two goals after the intermission to account for the final score.
Sparks fell to 5-2-2 overall and 0-1-1 in Lake League tilts. Truckee meanwhile improved to 12-1-1 and 3-0-0 in conference clashes.
“Truckee’s skill level and first touch are perfect. Their passing game is great. They can rip off six passes on you to set up an attack,” Miller said. “You try to find a weakness in a team to capitalize on and with Truckee that’s hard to find. They’re just solid everywhere.”
Sparks is in action again Thursday at Whittell at 6:30 p.m.