ZEPHYR COVE, Nev. — Managing to keep a lid on Truckee's explosive soccer program is no small victory.
The Warriors didn't capture wins in Tuesday's Mount Rose League openers, but the girls controlled Truckee for a 0-0 tie while the boys held on for a 3-0 loss.
May not sound too impressive on paper, but Truckee soccer is stacked with seniors and the teams are consistent playoff contenders. Winning is usually what they do best against smaller schools like Whittell.
“This is my senior year and we've never held Truckee off, ever,” defender Sierra Forvilly said. “So it's a pretty good feeling.”
The large part of that holdoff was shouldered by both Whittell goalkeepers Brittany Boulet and Austin Neil.
Neil smothered Truckee's offense, saving nearly 30 shots on goal.
“Credit to Whittell's goalkeeper. He made some pretty awesome saves,” Truckee boys coach Casey Eberhardt said. “We probably had 15 shots on goal in the first half and our goals could have added up quickly if it wasn't for him.”
Neil limped away from his goal post at the final whistle.
“My right leg feels like the worst dead leg I've ever gotten,” Neil said making his way off the field.
Not surprising considering he just played the game of any high school goalie's life. It was nothing new for the senior though. Neil held off 35 shots from Truckee when the teams met last year, so Tuesday was actually a slower night.
“It doesn't really matter if I come out with a ton of saves if we still lose,” Neil said.
Despite the high number of shots on goal, Whittell's defense wasn't letting Truckee just walk through. Spenser Buchholz and Rodney Aguirre-Rodriguez put up a fight in the backfield with Neil. Aguirre-Rodriguez bicycle kicked a Truckee ball inches before it flew over the goal line, 23 minutes into the first half.
Most of the Whittell team fought in the backfield at some point, but Truckee was unstoppable.
Rolando Zarate, Max Barta, Austin Simonpietri and Thomas Arnstein relentlessly hammered on the Warriors' goal. They kept the ball in Whittell's zone all but twice in the first half.
It was Arnstein who finally found net. After all his spectacular shots on goal, Arnstein simply dribbled the ball in 4 minutes before half.
Truckee picked up its second goal in the second half when Zarate drew out Neil and crossed, barely sneaking the ball by at the right moment.
Jesse Fereira hooked in Truckee's final goal on a penalty shot with 3 minutes to go.
The Wolverines are now 11-1 on the season and 1-0 in Mount Rose League play.
Truckee's girls gave goalkeeper Boulet the same treatment. -
“The first half we had at least six opportunities that should have gone in the net, but didn't,” Truckee coach Katie Jamison said. “We just weren't strong enough in our shot and you can't miss that opportunity.”
Truckee maintained possession in the second half, adding more heat to Boulet and the defense.
Whittell hung on.
“Brittney played outstanding in goal,” Whittell coach Patrick Kelly said. “She's come a long way since last year.”
It was the first time Truckee didn't come away with a win against Whittell in as long as most of the girls could remember. The teams will face again in Truckee on Oct. 20.
“I think they're going to come back and hit us hard up in Truckee,” Forvilly said, “but we're going to hit them harder.”
The Wolverines hope to have a healthier roster by then, as they are struggling with a number of key injuries. In fact, Jamison said she might have to pull up some JV players.
“They've got fresh legs,” she said. “They've only had four games.”
Truckee is 8-3-1 overall and 0-0-1 in the Mount Rose League.
— Sierra Sun sports editor Sylas Wright contributed to this story.