The season may have ended in a loss, but Sam Ugalde has turned the Greenwave boys soccer program around in just two seasons.
From 2015 until last fall, Fallon won no more than two games in a season when the Greenwave finished 2-9-3 in 2021, 2-15-1 in 2018 and 2-20-1 in 2017. After the program finished with a winning record in each of its first five seasons when Fallon moved to the 3A in 2010, boys soccer in the Lahontan Valley couldn’t find success until last year when Ugalde took over.
“I played under coach Nate Waite and basically took what I learned from him and brought that back. I’m pretty much running the same program,” said Ugalde, who graduated in 2011, in the middle of a three-year span when Fallon finished first twice and second in league. “That was my goal was to have it to where he had it at.”
Fallon won four games last fall for the first time since 2014 when the team finished 11-8-3, the same year the Greenwave last had a winning season.
Despite a 4-0 loss to North Tahoe on Saturday in the Northern 3A quarterfinals in Tahoe City, the Greenwave finished the season with a 7-6-2 record and third-place finish in the 3A East.
Aside from the team missing several opportunities to score and the defense not starting out well — North Tahoe scored twice in the first five minutes — Ugalde attributed Fallon’s success to the players and coaches.
“The thing that really helped was having a lot of these players we didn’t have last year come back out,” Ugalde said. “Half our varsity team is seniors and that really helped. We had a lot of coaches keep the players on track and help them individually.”
Eight losing seasons came to an end thanks to a strong senior class that included Braden Hendrix (goalkeeper), Dayton Stephens (forward), Brian Mendoza (midfield), Aiden Gonzalez (midfield), Cesear Gonzalez (defense), Mason Storm (defense), Isaac Martinez (defense) and Kaden Simpson (forward).
“The biggest thing they contributed was their leadership,” Ugalde said. “They were teaching a lot of these young guys. We had a lot of incoming players who haven’t really played. Taking them under their wing really helped.”
Next year could be tougher with the team returning only six and Ugalde not coming back to the helm due to a change in his work schedule. But the ex-Greenwave soccer player said the program will be in good hands, especially after this year’s successful season.
“We’ll have a lot of these players coming back next year and hopefully can recruit the incoming eighth grade class,” Ugalde said. “With us making the playoffs, we can show these guys the program’s getting better.”
After a police escort out of town to Las Vegas, the Greenwave tennis program saw its trip end early at the 3A state tournament.
Fallon seniors Edmond Allyn and Samuel Lords advanced to the second day after a 5-7, 6-4 and 7-6(5) win over Chandler Shamo and Carson Alder of Boulder City in Friday’s quarterfinal round. Allyn and Lords, though, fell to the state champion team of Moapa Valley’s Aidan Johnson and Braden Leavitt, 6-1 and 6-1, in Saturday morning’s semifinal round.
On the girls side, seniors Thalia Mortensen-De La Cruz and Kasey Lattin fell in the quarterfinal round to Boulder City’s Chayce Larson and Madi Morris, 6-0 and 6-1.
The Greenwave cross country team did not qualify any runners for state after competing in Friday’s Northern 3A regional meet at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno.
Leojro Chavez led Fallon with a time of 20 minutes, 17 seconds, followed by Jackson Barbee in 20:24. Alexander Sorensen ran the 5,000-meter course in 22:34 followed by Takoda Pacheco in 22:28 and William McNeill in 25:12.
For the girls, Abigail Lacow was Fallon’s lone runner and she finished the race in 29:54.
Spring Creek won the boys division and Truckee captured the girls title. The top times were 16:53 in the boys and 19:48 in the girls.