Rodriguez’s save helps Vikings tie rival Truckee |

Rodriguez’s save helps Vikings tie rival Truckee

Vikings senior Brandon Hernandez gets a running start Wednesday before burying a penalty kick that tied Truckee 3-3 at South Tahoe.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

South Tahoe goalie Sergio Rodriguez knew a shot was about to come his way.

And with the game tied in stoppage time, Rodriguez saved the day.

Rodriguez’s sprawling save Wednesday, Oct. 18, helped the Vikings earn a 3-3 tie with rival Truckee at South Tahoe and pushed South Tahoe toward the playoffs.

“I saw the kid was looking for a shot, he had a left, I thought he was going lower left so he shot, I dove and I got it right,” Rodriguez said. “It was definitely a good feeling after allowing three goals to stop them from getting the game winner.”

“Sergio, like he always does, makes big saves in big games,” said Vikings head coach Leon Abravanel. “It’s typical Sergio.”

Rodriguez’s save came just a few moments after the Vikings forged a tie.

Brandon Hernandez was fouled in the Truckee box with just over two minutes on the clock, much to the dismay of Wolverine defenders who mobbed the referee in protest, to no avail.

Hernandez coolly stepped up and blasted the equalizer into the bottom left corner of the net as the goalie dove opposite.

“In that situation you have the confidence to take it and he deserved it,” Abravanel said. “He stepped up to take it and buried it.”

The tying goal came after Truckee scored two goals in the second half to take the lead. A few weeks ago, those two goals might have sunk the Vikings’ emotional ship.

“We are a team that likes to learn and we’ve learned that putting our heads down doesn’t work,” Abravanel said. “They put two on us and we came back and tied it. I’m absolutely fine with that result. People got their money’s worth today.”

The Vikings scored a pair of goals in the first half to lead 2-1 at halftime. Freshman Daniel Marquez converted a penalty kick and Andy Salazar added a dynamic goal late in the half for the lead.

Salazar, who made his return to the team after missing several games, drove right with two defenders in tow and blasted a right-footed shot from about 25 yards that sailed by the diving goalie.

“We know how good Andy is and we missed him for sure, but in the meantime, while he was gone, the team figured out ways to perform,” Abravanel said. “And him coming back is a great addition at the right time.”

With four games left and the Vikings making a playoff push, it’s the perfect time to get back one of their star players.

South Tahoe (5-4-3 3A Northern League) has just four games remaining and is in good shape to claim one of the five postseason berths the league receives.

The Vikings are tied for fourth place with Elko (6-7-0) and just ahead of Spring Creek (5-6-2). Their next two games will bring playoffs into focus. They play Friday, Oct. 20, at Elko and Saturday, Oct. 21, at Spring Creek.

North Tahoe (13-0) leads the 3A Northern standings and is followed by Truckee (10-2-1) and Sparks (8-3-1).

“We turned things around after our loss to Incline last week,” Rodriguez said. “That was a tough loss, but we rebounded from that. It was nice to get a tie against a team like this. They’ve only dropped two games this year.”

“It goes to show we can compete with anybody in the state,” Abravanel said. “I’m super proud of the boys. We just need to maintain our form and effort. They understand the equation of what it takes to get results and today was proof of that.”

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