TRUCKEE, California – The Elko girls soccer team picked up a much-needed victory in its Division 3A North opener Friday in Sparks but fell to 1-1 in league play with a loss Saturday to defending state champion Truckee.
Other than Elko’s nine-goal explosion against Equipo Academy during the Spring Creek Cup, the most goals the Lady Indians posted in a preseason game was two on Aug. 26 in the Galena Tournament against Sparks.
In the second meeting of the season and first that counts, Elko found its offensive stride – posting five goals.
The Lady Indians played a solid defensive game and claimed a 5-1 victory.
“We finally started settling the ball to our feet and making good passes,” said Elko coach Michelle Nicholls. “The girls made good runs and their teammates found them.”
The scoring got underway early, with Elko junior Phoebe Fagoaga winning a 50-50 ball and dribbling down the left side for a shot less than two minutes into the contest.
Sparks tied the game in the 27th minute on a corner kick.
Nicholls said the Lady Indians did not clear the ball and left a wide-open shot.
Five minutes later, Elko reclaimed the lead at 2-1 when junior Iraila Telleria won a goalkeeper punt in the air, ran through the ball and placed a shot low into the corner of the frame.
Elko’s third goal came in the 53rd minute, gaining a 3-1 advantage from an assist by senior Aspen Fordin to junior Brenna Hendrix.
Fordin set up another score and a 4-1 lead when she connected with junior Savanna Carr, who knocked home the goal in the 59th minute.
Elko capped its scoring spree just two minutes later, stemming from a free kick.
Sophomore Dariahn Primeaux sent a ball over the defense to Hendrix for her second goal of the game, but she could have finished with a hat trick.
“We had two goals taken away by offside calls. Phoebe scored on one and Brenna scored the other,” Nicholls said. “Dariahn gave them some beautifully-placed balls.”
The Lady Indians finished the game with 18 shots on-goal, limiting to Sparks to seven attempts.
Senior goalkeeper Lauryn Drake finished with six saves for Elko.
Nicholls said she inserted her junior varsity and bench players for the final 20 minutes of the game.
The difficulty of Elko’s game Saturday increased 10-fold from Friday, taking on the defending state champion Lady Wolverines in Truckee.
Elko failed to score in the contest and fell by a final of 5-0.
Despite being shut out and losing by a lopsided margin, Nicholls saw a lot of positives from her team.
“The score of the game does not reflect how well they played,” Nicholls said. “Even when Truckee had us off-kilter, the girls still tried not to revert back to bad habits or playing kickball.”
Nicholls said the Lady Indians created opportunities to score, but Elko was unable to cash in for points on the board.
The Lady Wolverines scored three first-half goals and added two more after intermission for the five-goal victory.
Truckee junior Ava Seelenfreund opened the 3A North weekend on a pace to equal or eclipse her 1st-Team All-State season from 2016 – one in which she scored 32 goals and added eight assists – going for three goals and the hat trick Saturday against Elko.
“The common trend when they scored their goals was that we were on our heels, stabbed at the ball and got beat,” Nicholls said.
The Lady Wolverines dominated the battle of shots, firing 23 attempts to Elko’s eight.
Elko junior Jimena Murillo started the game at goalkeeper, as Drake was taking the ACT.
Drake joined the contest late and finished out the ballgame in the frame.
Murillo tallied three saves and Drake posted 13 stops in limited action.
The Lady Indians will look to build upon their .500 record in league play, taking to the road for the second straight week.
“We will work on defense a lot this week. We have to get out of the habit of stabbing at the ball,” Nicholls said. “Just from looking at scores at stats, North Tahoe (2-0) will be pretty tough. I think Incline (0-1) is similar to Lowry (0-1).”
The Lady Indians will face the Lady Lakers at 3:30 p.m. Friday in North Tahoe, wrapping up the second road trip in as many weeks at 10 a.m. Saturday against the Lady Highlanders in Incline.