SOUTH TAHOE, California — Despite a close affair, the Elko boys soccer team and second-year coach Alonso Lujan got the ball rolling the right way Friday.
Playing in the South Tahoe Tournament, the Indians kicked off the 2019 season with a 3-2 victory over Douglas.
The start was less than considerable — Elko giving up a goal early — Lujan saying he thought it was “between the 5th and 10th minute.”
The Indians bounced back and tied the contest with a goal in the 25th minute, taking advantage of what Lujan calls one his team’s biggest strengths.
“We used a long ball. They were playing their defense up so high,” he said.
“We made a long pass over the top to the left wing and used our speed, and Sammy Aguirre put his shot to the far post.”
The assist was bombed by senior Natu Meles.
The game went to the half knotted up 1-1.
Elko struck first in the second half, once again using speed to hurt the Tigers.
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“We switched the ball from the right to the left side, and Jose Ventura left everyone behind,” he said. “Once he got out in front, he crossed the goalie’s face with the ball.”
The Indians grabbed a 2-1 lead and went looking for more.
In the 55th minute, Elko benefited from a rebound opportunity.
“Their goalie tried to clear the ball and it bounced around and went off his chest from a rebound by Chris Perez,” said Lujan.
The Tigers pulled to within one in the 65th minute — the preseason games consisting of two 35-minute halves — coming on a direct kick from distance from an Elko foul in the midfield.
“It was a beautiful shot for sure, but our goalie was too far out and the ball barely slipped under the crossbar,” Lujan said.
Douglas was unable to find the equalizer in the final-five minutes, the Indians hanging on for a 3-2 win.
Elko will close the South Tahoe tourney with a pair of Saturday games, facing Shadow Ridge at 10:30 a.m. and squaring off against juggernaut Bishop Gorman at 3 p.m.