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SPRING CREEK – Spring Creek soccer went in Saturday’s game against Sparks and had trouble stopping the Railroaders on set pieces in a 3-0 loss.

Spring Creek is now 0-2 in league play after the loss that featured a new formation strategy for the Spartans.

The Spartans' offense has struggled since the preseason but they have also struggled to keep the ball out of their own net, leading the team to make a long-term switch to a 4-4-2 formation to put an extra defender in the back.

Spring Creek head coach Leaf Knots said his center backs, Samuel Herman and Samuel Claridge, really stood out him.

“Our two center backs came up pretty big,” he said. “They were winning balls up in the air and they were challenging the Sparks players. It was a good move for us to go with four on the back line.”

Spring Creek’s defense kept Sparks off the board for most of the first half but surrendered its first goal on a free kick in the 30th minute.

Spring Creek’s set-piece defense faltered again when another free kick found its way into the box where another Sparks forward slipped it past Brennan Moon to finish the play.

Sparks added on one more insurance goal right before stoppage time when a forward got loose in the box to shoot it past Moon but Spring Creek’s strategy of slowing down Sparks’ attack worked for the most part.

As for any counter attack, Spring Creek had trouble generating much with five shot attempts and only two shots on goal.

Knotts said the defense made their keeper’s job a lot easier.

“We struggled to get things moving offensively, but defensively we were pretty solid with winning balls and a lot of Sparks' shots went wide,” he said. “The shots we did let through were the easier ones for Moon to get his hands on.”

Spring Creek may have its regular starting goalie back in time for Friday’s game against Incline and Saturday’s game against North Tahoe.

Jacob Rios is waiting on a doctor’s approval to see if he can play with the fractured knuckle on his right hand but this weekend will be a challenging one regardless of who the Spartans put between the pipes.

Incline played a close 3-1 game and lost to South Tahoe but beat Spring Creek twice last season. North Tahoe is also playing well and is coming off of a 7-1 win against Lowry.

Knotts said both teams will be a challenge but is really focused on finding a way to slow down North Tahoe.

“I don’t know a whole lot about Incline but they’re going to be tough and competitive,” he said. “North Tahoe is going to be tough to be too, so that one may be a little bit more of a defensive game for us. We may try to get in there and come out with a point if we can’t get things going offensively.”

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