South Tahoe soccer boys playoff run ends |

South Tahoe soccer boys playoff run ends

Special to the Tribune

Matt Unrau/Elko Daily Free Press Jesus Martinez fends off a pair of Sparks defenders Friday in the Northern

ELKO, Nev. –Many great games dot the history between the Sparks and South Tahoe

boys soccer teams.

Friday’s wasn’t one of them.

In the battle between the last two state champions, the defending state

champion, Sparks, routed South Tahoe 5-0.

The South Tahoe Vikings had no answer for the speedy Sparks forwards, who

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scored four goals in the first half to quickly take all of the drama out of

the game.

“They’re extremely well-rounded players. They’re fast and they kept their

composure,” South Tahoe coach Hugo Lizaola said. “We lacked all of that.”

Sparks’ Ruben Pacheco started the scoring frenzy for the Sparks Railroaders

with back-to-back goals in the 8th and 15th minute.

The first came on a through-ball from Edwin Navarro, as the South Tahoe

defenders begged for an offsides call.

The second came right in front of the goal when Pacheco received a ball from

Hector Hernandez and slapped the ball from 8-yards out to the right side of

the goal.

The South Tahoe goalie got a hand on the ball, but it had enough force to

carry itself into the goal.

In the 30th minute a misplayed header by South Tahoe made it 3-0 and Kevin

Partida added a penalty kick in the 33rd after he was fouled in the box.

In the 50th minute Partida added his second goal on a free kick to make it


“We’re just firing on all cylinders. The kids have their minds on the goals

that they’ve set,” coach Frank Avilla said. “The boys took this game,


Despite the score, it was a heated game for both teams as each side received

four yellow cards in the match.

Sparks only has three starting seniors and a young nucleus, but it still

looked very much like the defending state champions.

South Tahoe ends a season plagued by injuries, including losing its best

player, Rodolfo Castillo, in the first three weeks to a season-ending ACL


“It is what it is,” Lizaola said.

South Tahoe was 6-4 in league play and graduates seven seniors.

With Friday’s victory, the Railroaders clinched a state-playoff berth for

the fourth straight year. In that time, they’ve been the state-runner ups

twice and won their first state championship in the program’s history last


“I don’t know how they do it to be honest with you,” Avilla said.

They face Truckee at 10 a.m. today in the regional championship game.

Truckee is 9-1 in league play and is the only team to defeat Sparks this

season. Sparks is also 9-1 and beat Truckee in the first two meetings of the

year between the two teams.

“We’re going to give it our best and they will,” Avilla said.

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