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Sparks boys soccer ties 4A Reno
by Aaron Retherford
Sep 24, 2009 | 659 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/John Byrne - Sparks senior Abi Quintino shields the ball from a Reno defender Thursday afternoon.
Tribune/John Byrne - Sparks senior Abi Quintino shields the ball from a Reno defender Thursday afternoon.
After eight straight shutouts to start the season, the Sparks boys soccer team finally allowed the ball to find the back of its own net during a non-league matchup at Reno Thursday.

However, it was the Railroaders scoring on themselves, twice actually.

Two own goals cost Sparks a chance at a rare win over a 4A foe and the Rail City school had to settle for a 2-2 tie.

"We have to learn how to play through a panic," Sparks boys soccer coach Frank Avilla said. "We're playing well, but we have to keep pushing. We're going to be OK. The boys are learning how to play against a little more adversity."

Avilla has been trying to schedule 4A schools for years with no success. Sparks has proven to be a legit soccer program and larger schools are finally giving the Railroaders a chance. The Maroon and Gold will also play at Spanish Springs in a week.

"They're all coming out of the woodwork now. I think they (4A programs) know we're playing at a good level," Avilla said. "I feel like we believe we can play with them. Hopefully we can use this as a catalyst since Spanish Springs did lose to them, and Spanish Springs is our next 4A game.

"I set us up this year, and we need to get better by playing tough teams over long stretches."

While Thursday's contest will go down as a draw, it easily could have been a dominating win for Sparks.

The Railroaders controlled much of the action as the Huskies only got six shots off on goal to Sparks' 15 shots.

Sparks got on the board first 10 minutes into the game when Andrew Garcia ripped a shot inside the far post of the goal for a 1-0 lead.

With about five minutes left in the first half, the Railroaders finally allowed a goal after 675 minutes of scoreless soccer. A Sparks defender attempted to clear the ball out of the box. He took a big swing at the ball, but clipped it with the side of his foot so it went straight up in the air with some massive spin.

The ball took a high bounce in front of the Sparks keeper and the spin made it bounce backwards into the goal.

The score remained 1-1 until five minutes ticked off the clock in the second half. Abi Quintino threaded a pass ahead to Eric Ojeda on the run.

Ojeda flicked the ball over a sliding Reno keeper and drilled a shot into the back of the net for a 2-1 edge.

The Railroaders were two minutes from earning a victory, but on a cross in front of the goal, a Sparks player dove and headed the ball back into his own goal, tying the game at 2-2.

Sparks (7-0-2) is back in league action Tuesday at home against Incline.
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