SPRING CREEK — Truckee has been one of the premiere boys soccer programs of the Division 3A North and the state of Nevada for a long time.
However, the Wolverines were handed what they have routinely dished out.
In the 3A North opener for both teams Friday, Spring Creek not only pitched a shutout — the offense went off late — the Spartans blasting the Wolverines by a final score of 5-0.
The win was a significant start to the season for Spring Creek, and it was also the first win for the Spartans in program history against Truckee, the previous-closest occurrence coming in a tie last season.
The Spartans created a chance to score in the early going, Truckee failing to clear the ball out of the middle of the box after a throw-in from the right corner — junior Jackson Jones’ header missing — Spring Creek unable to clean up the rebound.
For much of the first half, the Wolverines did a better job of winning balls out of the air.
Truckee made several passes that connected to feet on runs toward the Spring Creek goal, junior goalkeeper Jacob Rios advancing from the frame and stopping numerous charges.
Spring Creek challenged on the other end of the field, Truckee’s goalie coming out of the posts toward the left corner but a defender saving the moment with a wicked slide tackle.
In the 16th minute, Rios made a solid save as the Wolverines challenged once again.
The Spartans — after struggling to connect passes into the headwind — connected on a long ball to the right wing but neither senior Noah Rice nor senior Cade Carson were able to get off shots from inside the box, handling the ball for too many touches and allowing defenders to scramble back into position.
For Truckee, a promising series of passes set up a close shot — Rios denying the attempt.
The Wolverines continued to take possessions from the Spartans and pressured Spring Creek’s defense, but senior Brendan Anderson broke up a solid run down the right side.
Senior Brandon Shields also denied a potential score with a nice header on a long ball down the middle.
Truckee once more found an open man, but the attempt missed wide to the right.
Spring Creek was awarded a foul call against the Wolverines, but the direct kick was easily thwarted by the goalkeeper — the shot sent directly at him.
The Spartans pushed the ball the left corner on Truckee’s side of the field, but the Spartans wasted the opportunity with their second offside penalty of the half.
Crossing the other side of midfield, Truckee found a free kick of its own — the ball missing narrowly to the left of the post as Rios attempted to dive to his right.
Both teams struggled with the heavy breeze — Truckee sending multiple shots and passes too long, Spring Creek not finding feet with the wind blowing in its face.
With seven minute remaining in the half, the Spartans broke through — catching the Wolverines napping a little in the back end.
From the right side, junior Alex Estrada picked up an assist — sending his cross directly to the middle of the box.
The ball was not cleared by Truckee, senior Jeremiah Stephenson cleaning up multiple deflections with a header into an open net for a 1-0 lead.
Spring Creek maintained its advantage after a wild sequence.
Following a deflection of a Truckee kick, the ball careened over the top of the defense — Rios retreating and making the literal save with an over-the-shoulder grab as the ball was traveling straight down the middle of the field.
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To start the second half, the Wolverines attacked for the majority of the action — finding numerous chances to tie the game.
One of the Wolverines’ shot sailed wide-right, another stopped by Rios with a dive to his left.
He was on the spot once again, denying a charge right down the gut of the box.
A long shot from beyond the box into the headwind was slightly off the mark, flying just past the upper-left corner of the frame.
Truckee’s biggest opportunity to lock up the score ended with a clang.
In the 50th minute, the Spartans were called for a foul in the box.
The penalty kick hammered off the post, Spring Creek still up 1-0.
Facing more pressure at its own frame, the Spartans dodged another bullet.
Rios came forward and deflected a shot directly off the foot of the offensive player, his defense continuing to play and forcing a kick wide to the left for a change of possession.
The game began to swing heavily into Spring Creek’s favor in the 59th minute.
Carson was left open in the middle of the field and did not waste the free look, cupping a shot into the net for a two-goal cushion.
Rios kept the lead with a huge stuff as the Wolverines appeared to be offside with a pass to the center of the box, and the Spartans flipped the field —earning a foul call in the box.
Rice punched his PK to the right side of the frame and to the left of the goalie — opening a 3-0 lead in the 65th minute — Spring Creek not taking the lead for granted or its foot off the gas pedal.
With a long ball, Spring Creek set up a score for freshman Owen May.
The Spartans grabbed a 4-0 lead just two minutes after it opened a 3-0 advantage.
After attempting to climb back into the contest, the Wolverines tired late — making fewer and less-successful attacks at the Spartans’ frame.
With hardly any time remaining in the contest, the Spartans smelled the blood in the water and went in for the ultimate kill.
Truckee was granted a free kick from beyond midfield, the boot sent straight to Rice — who turned his shoulders and unleashed a bomb.
From near the circle on the Spartans’ own side of the field, he absolutely punished a streaking, yet high-arching Hail Mary.
Prayer answered, the shot finding nothing but net — the wind helping and striking the back of the frame as if Rice hammered from close distance.
Rios preserved the shutout with another save off the carpet.
Spring Creek opened Division 3A North play with an inaugural victory over the Wolverines by a final score of 5-0.
The Spartans will close their home stand with a noon Saturday contest against North Tahoe, in Spring Creek.
Truckee will look to avenge their only loss to Spring Creek in school history with a noon Saturday kickoff against Elko, at Adobe Middle School.