Highlanders tie Wolverines with late goal by Soto

Incline players celebrate after sophomore Alexis Soto's game-tying goal.
Justin Scacco /

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Last year’s Class 2A state champion Incline boys’ soccer team opened league play in Class 3A at home Monday and were able force a 1-1 tie against Truckee behind a late goal from team captain Alexis Soto.

The Highlanders had to move up into Class 3A this season after the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association shuttered Class 2A for boys and girls’ soccer.

On Monday, Incline showed they could hang with the larger schools that play in Class 3A, scoring on Soto’s goal with 12 minutes left, and then hanging on for the tie.

“I think we can do better said Head Coach Pedro Salazar. “It’s still early in the season. Our depth is not as good as it was last year, but there’s no reason why we can’t compete at a higher level. It’s just the intensity, we have to bring it up in practice and that’s going to lead to results in the games. But it’s fun to be out here in the 3A competing against bigger schools like Truckee.”

The two teams battled through a scoreless, physical first half of play, but Truckee broke through 11 minutes into the second half when senior Aaron Gutierrez scored off a pass from senior Gael Mendez.

Later in the half, Soto, a sophomore and last year’s Class 2A MVP, would get free in and sneak a ball past Truckee’s diving goalkeeper for the tying goal in the 68th minute.

“He’s one of our captains,” said Salazar. “He also leads by example and is a class player out there.”

Salazar said Incline has been playing without three starters that are still ineligible to play after transferring to the high school.

The team also had to move junior center back Jesus Aguirre to goalkeeper. Aguirre made several diving saves to keep Incline in the game against Truckee.

“He’s been performing at a high level for us,” said Salazar. “Without him back there, I think we’d have lost this match.”

Incline Village (0-2-1, 0-0-1 Northern West League) will head to Reno on Tuesday to face Sage Ridge (1-0, 1-0 Northern West League). The Highlanders finish the week with a Thursday game at North Tahoe and a Saturday matchup at South Tahoe.

On the girls’ side, Incline Village suffered a 7-0 loss at home Monday against Truckee. The Highlanders (0-1, 0-1 Northern West League) will face North Tahoe (2-0-1, 1-0 Northern West League) on the road on Thursday.

Freshmen Jackson Mangiaracina defends a Truckee player.
Justin Scacco /

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