Superman can’t save Warriors vs. Lakers
Superman made one appearance for Whittell’s boys on their soccer field Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Warriors over powerhouse North Tahoe.
Freshman Nestor Flores scored the game’s first goal and celebrated by revealing his Superman T-shirt. The two-time defending state champion Lakers, though, rallied with three second-half goals to beat Whittell 3-1.
“I think we were a little flat,” said Whittell head coach Steve Maltase, whose Warriors dropped to 4-3 overall with Thursday’s loss. “They were a little more aggressive than us, and we kind of got caught on our heels.”
In a game reminiscent of North Tahoe’s 3-1 loss to Truckee in last year’s state semifinals, the Vikings led early, but broke down in the second half against a good team. Flores scored in the seventh minute, dribbling into an opening in front of the goal and converting from point-blank range.
“I saw an opportunity, so I took it,” said Flores, a freshman, who always wears the signature red-and-yellow logo under his jersey.
Whittell fought off four near-misses to take the 1-0 lead into halftime. But the second half belonged to the Lakers. North Tahoe captain David Common evened the score just 12 seconds into the half, dribbling through the Whittell defense and putting a shot past goalie Joe Picolla. The Lakers took their first lead about 15 minutes later when forward Mario Cervantes beat Picolla to the left. Cervantes provided an insurance score with eight and a half minutes left in the game, converting a loose ball off a penalty kick, and North Tahoe improved to 2-0 on the season.
“I think Whittell came out eager,” said North Tahoe head coach Mike Simon. “They’re kind of the team we fear a little bit.”
Simon’s team kept its composure down a goal, and started to win the 50-50 balls and take advantage of Whittell’s defensive breakdowns. Whittell’s depth and inexperience at midfield also played a role, as the Warriors couldn’t go deep for substitutes. More important, the Warriors had a good team on the ropes and couldn’t finish it off.
“We’ve got to get that out of our system,” Maltase said.
“Our offense did the job in the first half, and our defense did the job in the first half, and both those broke down,” he said.
The Warriors return to action in another home game at 5 p.m. Tuesday when they take on Rite of Passage.
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