ELKO — On Saturday, the Elko girls soccer team found itself locked in a 0-0 tie for the fourth time of the season.
Fortunately, the one point the Lady Indians earned was a point that has been hard to come by for opposing clubs, doing so against defending state champion Truckee.
The Lady Wolverines experienced a tough weekend, opening their road trip with a 2-1 loss on Friday to Spring Creek.
Despite the uncommon outcome against Truckee, Elko definitely did not play its best game — owing the shutout tie almost exclusively to junior goalkeeper Elayna Orr and senior sweeper Olivia Smales.
Smales made a big stuff on a serious attack by Truckee in the first half with a picture-perfect slide tackle, the Lady Indians surviving a crazy sequence from the corner kick, unable to clear the ball for a lengthy period of time.
Junior defender Hailey Mariluch stopped a sure-fire goal with a deflection in front of an otherwise empty net.
The Lady Wolverines won the battle of possession and field position — Elko rarely winning the ball out of the air, drops often leading to scoring opportunities.
Midway through the half, Truckee was awarded a penalty kick for an Elko foul inside the 18-yard box.
The kick — much like the would-be, game-tying goal Friday against Spring Creek — was knocked before the referee blew the whistle, taking a goal off the board.
On the second PK, Orr made a diving stab to her left — batting the ball away from the frame.
Truckee missed another easy look from the right side of the net at point-blank range, shanking a shot on the weak side of the play.
On other chances from the right side, the Lady Wolverines missed wide right on multiple kicks and sent a header over the crossbar.
Elko took a direct kick from distance along the left side near the midfield stripe, senior Dariahn Primeaux sending a gorgeous ball toward the middle of the box.
However, the Lady Indians’ runs were just a little too late — the ball collected by Truckee’s goalie just before the threats arrived.
Toward the end of the first half, miscommunication and a lack of pressure nearly led to a Truckee goal.
The backside defender on the left side of the field, senior Britta Winans, ran all the way to the opposite end of the pitch down the sideline, dribbling deep into the box.
Both defenders in the area bailed out, leaving a wide-open look.
Luckily, the shot did not find home — the game going to the break as a scoreless draw.
You have free articles remaining.
Elko freshman Avery Beatty nailed a direct to start the second half, the kick on-target but saved by the Truckee keeper.
Primeaux made a steal but her shot was also stuffed by the goalie.
As the game advanced, Elko was constantly under fire.
Orr made a nice save for the Lady Indians, who routinely lost contact with the girls they were guarding or were beat off the dribble.
The defense looked scattered, Truckee appearing to be just on the fringe of taking the lead — splitting Elko defenders and often reaching the six-yard box unaccounted for.
The Lady Indians’ last real chance to mount a goal of their own was set up with teamwork, the ball working down middle and then sent wide to sophomore Liz Luna on the left wing.
Luna took one touch and thumped a well-struck shot but the ball was saved by the goalie.
On the other end, the Lady Wolverines were warming up their legs — senior Carter Rust nailing a shot, Orr making another save for Elko.
Truckee did not take advantage of another corner kick, and Orr made a sliding deflection in front of a runner who was left alone.
Orr then snagged another ball out of the air, and senior Emily Monson launched an open shot over the crossbar.
Reversing field, Orr made a huge play — crossing from outside the frame on the right side all the way to outside the post on the left and stuffing another potential game-changing goal.
Elko let another runner through its defense, her kick clanging off the upright before being ruled offside.
At the last whistle, the Lady Indians hung on for a 0-0 tie.
Following the game, Elko coach Michelle Nicholls talked to her team.
“You owe this tie to Laney (Orr) and Liv (Smales), so make sure to tell them thank you for saving you today,” she said.
Versus North Tahoe
The Lady Indians opened their home stand with another tie, drawing even at 1-1 on Friday versus North Tahoe.
North Tahoe took a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute on a penalty kick from senior Maile Markham, but Elko bounced back quickly with a score from senior Summer Nielsen on a direct kick by freshman Peyton Jacaway.
The Lady Indians (4-4-5 in league) will host another critical back-to-back, playing North Valleys (5-7-1 in league) at 4 p.m. Friday and Sparks (4-6-2 in league) at noon Saturday, at Adobe Middle School.