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Sparks, South Tahoe split soccer tilts
by Dan Eckles
Sep 22, 2011 | 944 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - SHS midfielder Eric Ojeda (#10) elevates for a header.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - SHS midfielder Eric Ojeda (#10) elevates for a header.
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The Sparks Railroaders strengthened their lead on the Sierra League’s top spot by downing traditionally tough South Tahoe, 3-0 Thursday afternoon.

Sparks kept its league and overall mark unblemished with the home win. The Railroaders now sit 13-0 overall and 6-0 in conference clashes.

Roger Garcia got the scoring started for Sparks when he scored three minutes into the match. Hector Hernandez gave away the assist on the initial goal.

“The first half was a little shaky,” but we warmed up,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “We ran a set play and it worked. In fact, we ran two that worked, which is good because we have been working on that part of our game and we were looking for it today.”

The 1-0 score stayed intact into the intermission, but it did not last long after the break. A minute into the second half, Sparks extended its edge to 2-0 when Eric Ojeda found the back of the net thanks to an Edgar Casillas assist.

The Railroaders put the finishing scoring touches on the match in the 65th minute. That’s when Henandez tallied a goal following a second Casillas assist.

The Sparks defense was stellar en route to victory. It allowed only nine South Tahoe shots. Railroaders goalkeeper Mitchell Garcia scooped up six saves.

South Tahoe fell to 2-2-2 with Thursday’s road loss.

“Sparks is a great team,” Vikings coach Bill Spicer said. “They are talented. They keep their composure. They are well coached. Sparks executed well but so did we. I’m not upset with today. We’re improving. We’re only halfway through the season. We’re only worried about us. Our plan is place. We’ll be fine.”

Sparks returns to action Wednesday. That’s when it will finish the first go-round of league play with a conference match at Whittell. First kick is slated for 4 p.m.

“We played better today than we did Tuesday,” Avilla said, alluding to a 1-0 win over Truckee. “What a difference a day of practice makes because we were much better. We faced more adversity today and we handled it better. Plus, we got to look at some younger kids. They are learning our system and starting to get it. The gap between our starters and reserves is not quite as wide as it used to be.”

•On the girls side, South Tahoe proved way too much for Sparks, capturing an easy 7-0 road win at SHS.

Monica Parra, the Railroaders’ back-up goalkeeper, was thrust into a starting role when the SHS starter was out sick. Parra did collect 16 saves but she was under constant attack as South Tahoe got off 24 shots. Sparks failed to get a single shot on goal in the lopsided loss.

“We just don’t match up,” Sparks coach Jerry Miller said. “They have skilled players at every position and skilled players on the bench. They’re the best team we’ve played this year ... We had some injuries and I held those kids out to recover. I knew it could be a long day. We compete against all the other teams in our league. We’ll just keep working and try to get better.”

Sparks plays again Wednesday at Whittell at 6 p.m.
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