In order to reach the title match, Sparks will first have to get past the Clark Chargers on Friday at 4 p.m. at Heritage Park in Henderson. This season Clark, the South’s second seed, racked up a 13-6-1 record overall, but aside from the Chargers’ record, there is little SHS knows about its opponent.
“Well, I know they’re 9-4-1 for the season in their league, so that means they have to be pretty good,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “To be honest with you, other than that we know nothing about them. We’re going to go out and we’ll adapt and take a look at them when we get there. We expect them to be a good team. They’ve made it this far and when you play at this level you’ll face good teams all the way around.”
With no familiarity of the Chargers, Avilla said the North’s No. 1 seeded Maroon and Gold won’t worry about trying to predict the style of play Clark will put on the pitch.
“We can’t control what’s not in our hands,” he said. “We just have to work on ourselves. We continue to keep striving for excellence in what we do. It hasn’t let us down yet and I hope it doesn’t let us down at state.
“We have to do what we’ve always done, which is taking care of ourselves. We have to be determined and honor the sport of soccer. Everyone at this level should be top notch and it’s no secret. So we expect that. We’re just going to take care of ourselves and hopefully we can do it.”
Sparks (26-1) is making sure its focus is on what is in its power rather than worrying about the other three squads at state.
“They’re excited but they know there’s business to take care of. The last couple of weeks they’ve really showed a great maturity and willingness to communicate with each other and a willingness to want to get better. We just have to keep everything in perspective. They’re working very, very hard to get ready to face the task at hand. This group has a twinkle in their eyes. They’re working hard.”
Should the Railroaders beat Clark Friday, they will face the winner between the South’s top seeded SECTA and the North’s No. 2 Truckee. The championship match is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. Truckee (24-3) was the regional runner-up to Sparks and the Wolverines were also the only team to defeat the Railroaders this season. SECTA has yet to lose a match this season, with the Roadrunners outscoring their opponents 112-16 (an average of 5.3-0.74 per contest) en route to a 21-0 mark.