ELKO — The Elko boys soccer team is not only back for a playoff game, the Indians are undefeated on the season.
On Saturday, Elko capped a perfect regular season (10-0) with an 8-0, mercy-rule victory over Dayton — needing just 60 minutes of game action.
The No. 1 Indians will attempt to remain unblemished in the loss column, closing the year at 1:30 p.m. Thursday versus No. 2 Lowry (7-3) for the Division 3A North-East championship at Adobe Middle School.
In two meetings, Elko beat the Bucks 2-0 on March 13, at Adobe Middle School, and rolled to a 6-0 road win over Lowry on March 31, in Winnemucca.
Against the Dust Devils, the Indians found little opposition on Saturday — scoring six goals before halftime.
In the 10th minute, junior Freddy Cervantes sent a ball to senior Jose Ventura — who beat Dayton’s keeper in a one-on-one situation for a 1-0 lead.
Just a minute later, junior Manny Cortez passed into the 18-yard box to Cervantes — who drilled a shot into the top-right corner of the net for a two-goal cushion.
The Indians remained on the attack — taking a 3-0 advantage in the 13th minute — as Cervantes once again set up Ventura, who beat a couple defenders off the dribble before finding another 1-v-1 with the keeper for a crossed ball into the bottom-right corner of the frame.
In the 32nd minute, the scenario played out once again.
Although, Ventura was fouled inside the box — earning a penalty kick.
The PK was cashed by fellow senior Stephen Hutnyak for a 4-0 lead.
Only a minute rolled off the clock before the gap swelled to five.
Junior Marquos Meza won possession of the ball with a defender on his back and passed to Hutnyak — who kicked the ball to the keeper.
However, Dayton’s goalie was unable to hang onto the ball — which trickled into the net for a 5-0 advantage. Elko took a 6-0 lead before the break.
In the 38th minute, the Indians found several tries from inside the 18-box.
Finally, freshman Marcos Carlos settled the ball down and dished to freshman Andres Monroy for a shot into the upper-right portion of the frame.
In the second half, the Indians added the pair of goals they needed to get off the pitch early.
Carlos worked the ball to Ventura, who was fouled inside the box for the second time.
In the 58th minute, he was granted the PK and cashed out the opportunity for a hat trick and a 7-0 lead.
Elko slammed the door in the 60th minute, the Indians turned defense into offense.
Freshman fullback Jonathan Jaimez possessed the ball and counter-attacked with a long ball from two-thirds field, connecting ahead with Meza.
Meza beat the goalie in a race to the ball and tapped it home for the 8-0, mercy-rule win.
In the contest, the Indians allowed Dayton just three shots on-goal — two of which were saved in a shutout for junior keeper Eric Azcue.
“The team is young, and I’m expecting a good future for it. Every game is a championship for us and that’s how we are going to play it,” said Elko coach Alonso Lujan. “As coach, it’s hard to see the seniors leave after they gave you a lot of satisfaction in the field but — at the same time — I’m excited to see what is waiting for these guys in the future.”
The No. 1 Indians (10-0) will look to send their seniors off victorious, end the season undefeated, win the 3A North-East regional title and build on what should be a very-talented group of underclassmen versus No. 2 Lowry (7-3) at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, at Adobe Middle School.
GALLERY: Fernley at Elko Boys Soccer — March 27, 2021