Highlanders continue mastery of WHS
By Steve Yingling
Tribune sports editor
ZEPHYR COVE – Whittell High has realized very few boys’ soccer victories over rival Incline in recent years.
Circumstances, however, were ideal for a series turnaround on Tuesday afternoon. Incline hadn’t won in its five previous games, the Highlanders’ thin bench contained only one substitute and the team practiced before school on Tuesday.
Still, Incline easily extended its dominance of the Warriors, winning the Northern 3A match 5-0.
Carlos “Chino” Garcia scored twice in a 6-minute, 20-second span in the first half to stake the Highlanders (1-5 overall, 1-0 league) to a 2-0 lead. Garcia’s first score came off a rebound that he deposited in the top center of the goal. On his second goal, Garcia squeezed a shot through two defenders, beating keeper Paul Waite to the far post.
Edward Rodriguez increased Incline’s lead to 3-0 inside the half’s final two minutes, scoring from close range.
“We have to come out with a little more passion and fire than we did,” Whittell coach Steve Maltase said. “Incline just moved the ball and made a couple of extra passes, and we just stood around and waited to see what they were gonna do.”
Waite made several difficult saves or the Highlanders’ lead would have been larger.
“What are you gonna do when a lot of the finishes we had were good finishes,” said Incline coach Tom Canino. “He had a very good game or we could have had more goals.”
The Warriors (3-4-1, 0-1) struggled to contain Incline’s speed on balls played to the outside. Incline also benefited from its passing from the wings – most notably the playmaking of Michael Ceragioli.
Ceragioli assisted on two goals and scored Incline’s fourth goal nine minutes into the second half. Ceragioli got behind the Warrior defense and beat Waite to the far post.
Erik Baumann capped Incline’s scoring in spectacular fashion, blasting in a 40-yard free kick.
“We just handled the ball, moved into space and attacked,” Canino said.
Whittell failed to capitalize on several good scoring chances in the final 20 minutes. Freshman Cody Williams turned a high bounce of the ball into a breakaway, but keeper Forest Juarez came out to thwart the attempt. Freshmen Trevor Fairbank and T.J. Kolesnik also provided decent scoring chances, but their shots sailed high.
Maltase was pleased with the play of freshman defender Blake Werle, whose positioning and footwork led to a second straight solid effort.
Canino scheduled a 7 a.m. practice on Tuesday to help more of his players become eligible for matches. The team played with 10 players in its previous match, but we’ll have 14 players eligible for its next match.
“It puts a load on certain players,” Ceragioli said. “We don’t obviously have the best lineup we could out there, but we play with what we have.”
Incline used a second-half rally to beat the Whittell girls’ soccer program 4-2 Tuesday.
Freshman Kelsie Martinez’s goal gave Whittell a 1-0 midway through the first half on a breakaway. Her shot hit the top of the keeper’s hand and landed in the goal.
Incline scored the final three goals to earn the win, dropping Whittell to 5-2 overall, including 0-1 in 3A league play.