The toughest road test of the season commences today.
Fallon’s girls soccer team heads east to battle rivals Elko and Spring Creek in a pair of critical Northern Division I-A matches today and Saturday.
The Lady Wave, though, are in high spirits with a 5-0 win against Sparks on Tuesday after a pair of humbling losses to Truckee and South Tahoe last week.
“I think that will bring a lot (of confindence),” Fallon coach Kelly Spicer said. “Our crosses have to be better, but we are getting there.”
But the trip east is never easy, although this time around there is already familiarity between the clubs. Fallon went 2-1 at the Spring Creek tournament in the second week of the season, with a 3-1 win over Elko and 3-1 loss to Spring Creek.
However, the Lady Wave did not have their full complament of players. With a healthy lineup including midfielder Rebecca Mills, Fallon aims for a sweep to stay in contention for one of the four Northern DI-A playoff berths.
As of Thursday, Spring Creek (2-1-1) and Elko (2-2-1) are tied for third with seven points, while Fallon (2-2) sits in fifth with six.
“The key to this weekend is scoring and defense,” Spicer said. “If we score, control the ball and play good defense we will win.”
“We still need to improve on cutting it (the ball) back,” forward Macy Myers added. “We need to be better with 50/50 balls. If we can get the ball downfield, we can capitalize on that.”
Spicer instituted a defensive change last week and altered the formation to a 4-4-2, which allows for four defenders and midfielders. In addition, he moved Britney Wallace to left back allowing for her to use her speed to ignite the counterattacks.
Spicer said the changes showed in the first half of Fallon’s 4-0 loss at South Tahoe, when the game entered halftime a scoreless tie. Several breakdowns led to the Vikings’ four goals, but against Sparks, the Railroaders were limited to about five shots.
“We are going to work on the defense and passing, passing, passing,” Spicer said. “The girls are starting to get the hang of it.”
Against Sparks, the Lady Wave dominated possession and kept the ball mostly in their attack third. About 5 minutes into the game, midfielder Savannah Sweeney slid a pass to Macy Myers whose initial shot was saved. The rebound, however, landed back with Myers who buried the shot for a 1-0 lead.
About 30 minutes later, Fallon found the net again when Brooke Vezina’s hustle created a chance for Mills. Vezina raced to gather a through ball, but her shot was deflected by the goalkeeper and landed about 10 yards behind Vezina.
Mills, though, sprinted to the ball and lofted a shot from about 20 yards out into the net.
“The first 25 minutes we played solid, but then got sloppy,” Spicer said. “We had to work to get five, but I’m happy to get a victory.”
Vezina’s hustle, meanwhile, was rewarded on Fallon’s third goal when Myer sent a cross to the pint-sized midfielder, who buried the short-hop volley and gave the Lady Wave a 3-0 lead to end the first half.
Myers added her second assist when she found Kailey Davis who chipped in a goal over the keeper and Erica Loyden cemented the game with a breakaway goal late in the second half.
“We played really well and passed really well,” Myers said. “We did really good on following shots.”