TRUCKEE, California – The Elko boys soccer team embarked on its most difficult road trip of the season Friday and Saturday, dropping both contests by scores of 2-1 and 4-2.
The Indians fell 2-1 to Friday to the defending state champion Railroaders in Sparks, losing 4-2 Saturday against the Wolverines in Truckee.
The first half of the contest was a defensive struggle, neither team managing to mount any offense.
After 40 minutes of play, the game advanced to halftime as a scoreless tie.
The Railroaders poured in the first goal of the game in the second half, taking a 1-0 lead.
Elko answered and tied the contest on what head coach Jim Nisbet called a “jumbled play in the middle.”
“The ball was bouncing around and got deflected back to Kevin Villegas. He took a shot and will say the ball was going in anyway, but sophomore Lupe Flores cleaned it up,” Nisbet said.
With only three minutes remaining in regulation, Sparks found the game-changer.
The Railroaders took lead at 2-1, the eventual final score, but Nisbet thought the goal should have been disallowed.
“The kid has his arms away from his body and the ball hit his arms before he could settle it to the ground,” Nisbet said. “I think a handball should have been called, because his arms made his body bigger.”
The goal stood and the Railroaders gained a 2-1 victory.
The second contest of the season between the Indians and the Wolverines provided a much more competitive affair than the 8-1 beat-down Truckee handed Elko on Sept. 9 at Adobe Middle School.
Truckee still managed to come away with a 4-2 victory Saturday, but Elko played a tough game against one of the best teams in the Division 3A North.
“We created some chances against a very good team, but we had a couple goals taken away too,” Nisbet said. “We had one goal called off on a free kick because the ball was struck before the referee blew the whistle. It was the correct call but it was a beautiful shot. We lost another goal on an offside call.”
The goals that counted for the Indians came from Villegas and senior Joe Telleria, who notched one score apiece.
Villegas tied the game 1-1 in the 12th minute, and Telleria’s poke deadlocked the score once again at 2-2 in the first minute of the second half.
Unfortunately for Elko, Nisbet said Truckee senior forward Joel Garcia went for a hat trick on the Indians.
Garcia leads the league with 25 goals and is second in the 3A North with seven assists, tallying a league-high 57 points.
“He is a lot like Lucas (Tardelli) was for us. He is very fast and extremely aggressive,” Nisbet said. “He is very physical but it doesn’t hurt them if he picks up a foul on the offensive side of the field. He’s a great player.”
Garcia’s three goals played a vital role in Truckee’s 4-2 victory.
The Indians (4-6) will return home for a major test in their next contest, hosting No. 1 and unbeaten North Tahoe (10-0) at 4 p.m. Friday at Adobe Middle School.
Elko will close the home stand at noon Saturday against Incline (3-7).