Lattin’s Lady Wave faces new challenges
Today only leaves a handful of practices until the Lady Wave soccer team begins their season with a non-conference match against Pahrump Valley at Spring Creek High School on Friday and its first league match with the Truckee Wolverines on Sept. 9. Former assistant coach, now head coach, Lance Lattin, has a young team with a lot of sophomores, while three of his five seniors are returners, but a winning scrimmage with North Valley on Friday has bolstered his confidence in the team, he said. “Really I think that our shape was okay and our organization defensively as well,” Lattin said. “We’re just really young in every aspect and there’s very little varsity experience on the field so the girls are starting to understand each of their purposes and roles and where they need to be and when. We still have a ways to go but we’re making good progress.”
For Lattin, who was the varisty coach before Kelly Spicer briefly took over and left last year, this year has been more successful already since, he said, he isn’t rushing things like he was when he took over again toward the end of the year when the Lady Wave had a shot at the regional championship.
“I’ve been able to plan over the summer and anticipate some of the things I need to do,” he said. “From that standpoint I think we’re in better shape and as a coach I’m much better prepared than I was last year. We’ve been able to work on some things earlier so we’re not kind of playing catch-up.”
Consistency is the theme this year for Lattin’s younger squad, a team of 15 led by returning seniors/captains Savannah Sweeney and Melinda Fagundes who were instrumental in a nearly undefeated season.
“They’ve shown tremendous leadership and know how things work,” Lattin said of Sweeney and Fagundes, the latter of whom he also said is his big offensive weapon at forward while Sweeney leads the midfield. “They’re a good leadership tandem.”
Of the eight sophomores all new to the varsity team, two, Margaret Otuafi and Mariah Snooks, make up the defensive line alongside juniors Sierra Hickox and Sara Rodarte, with Hickox as the only returner. Sophomores Alexis Jarret and Samantha Hines will start as forwards, and Sweeney is joined in the midfield by sophomores Kennah Hamlin and Mayla Dahl along with junior Jordan Dahl and returning senior Mara Garcia.
One of Lattin’s brand new seniors, a great find he said, is goalkeeper Adelle Brown who will be be supported by returning senior Kayce Mulder and Chandler McAlexander at halfback, though, Brown is an exciting prospect because of her focus on the position.
“A goalkeeper is such a specialized position and we don’t have a lot of people who are trained there, so it’s nice to have somebody as a senior who is all about it,” Lattin said.
The sophomores are a core part of the team, Lattin said, and while there is a lot of inexperience at this varsity level with the new Lady Wave, the potential is good and he said the team is learning quickly.
“Everybody is hopeful and everybody believes in what we’re doing,” Lattin said. “Last year there was a few unknowns, but the girls have been fantastic as far as changing and adapting to a different coaching style. The girls deserve all the credit in the world for the effort they’ve put in and buying in.”
While it is hard to get players to believe in what a coach is doing, Lattin said, it’s harder to get to regionals in the new Division 3A lineup, in which teams like Fernley, Lovelock, Yerington, North Tahoe and Wendover, who were easy victories for the former Lady Wave, will not be competing with Fallon. Two Lake Tahoe schools have been added to the new league, which has been divided in half with Fallon on the stronger side which will send five teams to its regional competitiion as opposed to three from the weaker league.
While he said this team can definitely make it to regionals, Lattin also said the new way of things will be a non-stop challenge for his team to overcome.
“Some of the teams were kind of a chance for us to catch our breath, a break from the action,” he said, “but now every match we’re going to play is competitive.”