ELKO — From the get-go.
Elko head coach Alonso Lujan said teamwork led to the first goal of the game.
Senior Natu Meles dished an assist to junior Jose Ventura for a 1-0 lead.
Just prior, the Spartans found their best chance to score.
“Alex Estrada kicked a shot from outside the 18 (yard box) and the goalie deflected it off the corner post in about the third or fifth minute,” said Spring Creek coach Tanner Rios. “After that, we looked bad. Elko looked like they were having fun and passing the ball around. If we could have scored early it may have been different, but Elko played a good game and we looked bad.”
The Indians added to their lead — Lujan saying the goal came in the 15th minute — Rios noting it was in the 31st minute.
Regardless of time, Elko took a 2-0 advantage as Meles dribbled through the defense and cashed a goal after distributing one.
Later, Meles was awarded a penalty kick, his PK on-point and opening a 3-0 lead halftime lead.
“After that, we were done. It seemed like when they got up 3-0 after the PK, we quit playing and got frustrated,” Rios said.
The momentum of Elko, and lack thereof for Spring Creek, carried over into the second half.
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In the 55th minute, Meles kept his foot on the gas and on the ball — notching a hat trick and opening a 4-0 lead with a goal from an assist by sophomore Alex Medrano.
With 10 minutes remaining and a hat trick already under his belt, Meles went for the haul.
Elko’s first score was set up by a pass from Meles to Ventura; the last was a change of roles — Ventura finding Meles for his fourth goal of the contest.
Entering the match with just a 2-3-3 record — actually aided by a 2-1 win on Sept. 24, at Lowry — the Indians improved to triple 3s with a 5-0 shutout win.
Elko closed out the first half of the 3A North season with consecutive wins and improved to 3-3-3 in league play.
The Indians are currently in sixth place of the “A” league standings with the top-five teams qualifying for the postseason, Elko’s 12 points trailing fifth place by one point.
“After these two wins, the boys feel confident to face Incline and South Tahoe,” Lujan said.
Spring Creek fell to 3-5-1 in the 3A North, the Spartans entering the second half of the season tied for seventh and eighth place with Truckee (3-5-1) — the Spartans and Wolverines each tallying 10 points but Spring Creek owning the head-to-head tiebreaker with a 5-0 home win on Aug. 30.
“We need to have fun, but we need to want it,” Rios said. “We’ll see how the boys can answer in the second half of the season. We can’t play a good game, then have a bad one. We need to be consistent every time we play.”
Elko will take on the Highlanders (1-7-1 in league) at 4 p.m. Friday, at Incline, closing the road trip with a noon Saturday game versus the Vikings (7-2 in league) in South Tahoe, California.
The Spartans, in reverse order, will face the Vikings at 4 p.m. Friday and the Highlanders at noon Saturday.