DAYTON — The Truckee boys heated up a little too late Friday night.
The Wolverines finally stuck the ball in the back of the net in the 74th minute of their Division I-A state semifinal against Sunrise Mountain.
By that time they had already allowed two goals, however, and the shift in momentum went for naught as the final whistle soon sounded the end of Truckee’s state championship run.
“I think it just came down to us finishing our chances,” Truckee coach Casey Eberhardt said. “Nine out of 10 times we finish those chances we had. We just didn’t (Friday night).”
It cost the top-seeded Wolverines a shot at the state title, which went to defending champion SECTA by a 4-1 margin over Sunrise Mountain the following day. SECTA defeated Truckee 1-0 in last year’s state semifinal.
“They definitely took it pretty hard,” Eberhardt said of his players. “Although there wasn’t as much expectation as last year, when we had 11 seniors, they were definitely heartbroken.”
Friday’s semifinal remained scoreless through 36 minutes of play as the two athletic squads battled back and forth, neither able to gain the upper hand.
Truckee sophomore Alex Colomenares nearly put the Wolverines on the board when he hit a hard shot off the crossbar late in the first half. Junior Jake Lahr almost gave Truckee the lead before that after fighting his way through a tough Mustangs defense, only to have the ball snatched up by the goalie just in the knick of time. Junior Thomas Arnstein also came close on a couple of scoring opportunities, as did senior Rolando Zarate in the opening minutes of the game.
But nothing connected.
The Mustangs, meanwhile, made the most of their scoring opportunities. Four minutes before the half, Truckee sophomore goalie Gabriel Serna blocked a shot attempt but could not corral it, and a heads-up Sunrise Mountain player kicked in the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
Truckee picked up its game in the second half but came up with the same result — promising attempts but no goals.
In the 50th minute, Sunrise Mountain extended its lead to 2-0 with a long-range shot, at least 30 yards, that bounced off the hands of the diving Serna and into the goal.
Playing with a sense of urgency in the final minutes, Arnstein lofted a corner kick to the front of the goal, and freshman forward Manuel Sarabia headed it in to cut the lead in half. Practically before the ball hit the net Sarabia retrieved it and kicked it toward midfield, trying to save as much time as possible.
The Wolverines frantically pressured the Sunrise Mountain goal the final five minutes. With about two to go they received another corner kick. But this time, after another header by Sarabia, the Mustangs goalie got his hands on the ball and cleared it down field.
“Everybody on the team as a whole played their hearts out and gave 110 percent,” Eberhardt said. Everybody wanted to win.”
Truckee, which loses six seniors —Zarate, Max Barta, Oscar Martinez, Will Krengel, Armando Diaz and Eddie Cortez — finished 22-2-1 overall and 16-2-1 against the Division I-A.