High Fidel(ity) lifts Greenwave
Speed, a powerful shot and a flare for the dramatic is his calling card.
After tumultuous weekend and a dogged schedule had the Fallon boys soccer team running on fumes, Fidel Enriquez came to the rescue.
Enriquez sparked the Greenwave when the chips were down and scored twice including the game-tying goal as Fallon rallied to tie North Tahoe, 2-2, on Tuesday in a non-league match at the Edward Arciniega Complex.
He nearly completed the comeback on a header with less than 10 seconds remaining in the match.
“We were all really working hard together,” Enriquez said. “We were not careful enough at first, but we got it done.”
“It was a perfect type of match and that’s why we book these matches,” Fallon coach Nate Waite added. “That was our fourth game in five days.”
Tuesday’s thriller was the second match between the schools this season as Fallon (Northern DI-A) won the first match 1-0 in Tahoe City on Oct. 2.
“We want to play good competition,” North Tahoe coach Beto Alcaraz said. “We had a couple openings and coach Nate (Waite) wanted to play.”
Enriquez’s ability to rise in the clutch has given Fallon several much-needed goals late in matches. He has tallied at least three game-winning or tying goals this season and has score 11 this year. His effort, though was nearly matched by North Tahoe’s Angel Guerrero, who tallied one goal and had another erased on an offsides call.
Fallon, playing its fourth match in five days, was in high spirits after the rallying effort despite losses to Elko (last week) and Sparks (Monday) and a hard-fought, controversial win over Spring Creek (Saturday).
Fallon returns to the pitch on Tuesday at Dayton and ends the season at home against Fernley on Thursday in a pair of must-win matches. The Wave is tied for third in the Northern DI-A with Elko and South Tahoe.
Only four teams qualify for the playoffs as Truckee has clinched and Sparks is on the cusp of earning a bid.
“We got to be focused and working together as a team,” Enriquez said. “Just keep going like a family.”
North Tahoe, however, came out strong as Guerrero took a rebound off the crossbar and buried the shot into an open net about five minutes into the match. However, the play was called offsides and wiped out the goal.
“We were passing well and taking shots on goal,” Alcaraz said. “We worked on passing a different formation and I think the boys are getting used to it. I think that’s what made the difference.”
Guerrero appeared to put North Tahoe up 1-0 five minutes into the match when he buried a rebound that ricocheted off the crossbar. Although the play was ruled offsides, the Lakers would respond.
Guerrero was undeterred and found redemption nine minutes later. Omar Cerda sent a cross into the goalbox and Guerrero chipped in the volley for a 1-0 lead.
Enriquez, however, put his foot forward in the 27th minute when he volleyed a low ball from Corbin Waite and slid the awkward shot through the legs of Lakers goalkeeper Trent Lingruen.
“I just always want to give my very best,” Enriquez said. “Just do the little things right and working with my team.”
Shortly after halftime, North Tahoe answered on a powerful free kick from Jesus Ortega. His blast from about 20 yards out sliced through a pair of Fallon’s defenders on the left side of the defensive wall, leaving Wave keeper Miguel Perez helpless.
But Fallon’s offensive pressure turned up the intensity. The Wave created six chances and finally broke through when Pedro Barajas slid a pass to Enriquez, who turned and fired a left-footed blast from the top of the box to beat Lingruen in the right corner in the 76th minute.
Enriquez nearly won the game in the final 5 seconds when Tristan Parrott sent a cross into the box, but Enriquez’s header sailed wide.
“I’m just proud of the effort,” Waite added.
Lingruen, though, came up with the play of the day in the 52nd minute to keep North Tahoe’s 2-1 lead. Fallon’s Austin Bischoff blasted a shot from about 35 yards out, catching Lingruen out of position.
The netminder, however, scrambled back into the penalty box, jumped and punched away the ball and over the goal to preserve the lead.
“I think we build up from the back and I don’t like how we sometimes play kickball,” Alcaraz added. “We didn’t come out as hard in the second in the second half. Fallon gave us a battle and they are a good team.”