TRUCKEE, Calif. — Intense, sometimes chippy games are not out of the norm when the Truckee and South Tahoe boys soccer teams clash.
That scenario played out again Tuesday between the Northern Division I-A foes, as the Wolverines earned a hard-fought and physical — and sometimes contentious — 3-0 win on their home field.
“The intensity of the game was great. It was extremely competitive,” said South Tahoe coach Ben Hannah, who, despite only taking over the team in recent weeks, is well familiar with the rivalry that has developed between the programs.
“I don’t know if it’s bad blood,” said Truckee coach Casey Eberhardt, “just two teams going hard.”
Both squads established a physical tone from the start as possession bounced back and forth through the opening 20 minutes.
In the 21st minute, however, Truckee freshman Manuel Sarabia got behind the South Tahoe defense and blasted a shot on the run into the upper left corner of the goal for the game’s first score.
Truckee’s Thomas Arnstein added an insurance goal five minutes into the second half on a highlight free kick, and Leo Villa increased the cushion to the final margin with a goal in the 60th minute.
“We got the first one (goal) and then battled the rest of the half. And then I think that second goal kind of gave us the momentum,” Eberhardt said. “And then as the game wore on, I think they (the Vikings) got frustrated, especially after they lost a man.”
While the officials allowed a significant amount of contact, they also handed out a number of yellow cards in the game, as well as a red card to South Tahoe for an overly aggressive play after Truckee’s second goal.
Midway through the competitively contested first half, junior Nick Oberriter sent a through ball up to Sarabia, who tracked it down and kicked it past the reach of South Tahoe goalie Kyle Hannah before Diego Garcia and Jesus Vasquez Macias could close in on him.
The Vikings nearly evened the score shortly after, but Truckee sophomore goalie Gabriel Serna blocked a one-on-one shot by Derek Caro, and Jesus Martinez’s follow-up shot on the rebound sailed wide of its mark. South Tahoe had a number of other opportunities to get on the board but could not connect.
“They made the plays and we didn’t make them,” coach Hannah said.” They won more 50-50 balls in the first half and they simply made more plays. We had our chances. We were unlucky a couple times. But all-in-all they deserved the win. They outplayed us, especially in the second half.”
Arnstein added fuel to the Wolverines’ confidence with one nicely placed kick in the 45th minute. Taking a direct free kick from about 30 yards, the junior lefty curled an unblockable ball into the upper right corner of the goal to extend the lead to 2-0.
Villa rounded out the scoring in the 60th minute when David Martinez won a ball in the South Tahoe box and got it to the junior forward, who deftly slipped it under the charging Hannah.
“I think we’re starting to grow and play as a team together,” Eberhardt said. “We’re starting to play more of a possession game and getting more comfortable. And I thought we did a good job of finishing.”
The Wolverines improved to 1-0-1 on the season as the Vikings fell to 1-1.
Truckee is scheduled to host Dayton on Thursday at 5 p.m. The Wolverines then play at Incline on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and host Sparks on Friday, Sept. 20, at 5 p.m.