Wave aims for playoff upset
It is all about the team.
Although the Fallon boys soccer team is two days behind schedule, players are confident in their matchup against a traditional power.
On the heels of a 1-1 tie against Spring Creek on Tuesday in Winnemucca, the Greenwave readies for Truckee.
Fallon, the fourth seed, and the No. 1 Wolverines kickoff the Northern Division I-A regional soccer tournament at 1 p.m. today in Truckee. In the other matchup, second-seeded Sparks takes on No. 3 South Tahoe. The winners play in Saturday’s regional final at noon.
“In the past they’ve had this aura of invincibility that I don’t feel know,” Fallon coach Nate Waite said. “Truckee is good and I respect them, but we are going in there for a win.”
After the Wave’s de facto playoff game against Spring Creek coming after a successful appeal to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, Fallon is looking ahead and letting go of what was.
And now Fallon gets its crack at a team it has yet to beat since joining the DI-A four years ago. The Wave has been outscored 9-2 in two matches against Truckee the season, although the 3-1 loss on Oct. 11 is a beacon of hope for Fallon.
In a span of two minutes, Fallon surrendered three goals. The other 78 minutes, the Wave played toe-to-toe with the Wolverines.
“There was on short lapse of time, a mental lapse, we gave up three goals in a very, very short time,” Waite added. “It wasn’t a tactical or physical error, it was a mental error. I actually take confidence from that and the boys do to. We have some additional tweaks and adjustments that we’ll make and that I think will give us even more of an advantage.”
Despite the optimism, Truckee counters with two of the best players in the league and perhaps the north. Thomas Arnstein led the league with 43 goals (the DI-A single-season record) and 18 assists, while Manuel Sarabia added 18 goals in only 10 games.
Although Arnstein and Sarabia are the firepower, Jordan Fereiera, David Martinez and Leo Villa also provide balance throughout the lineup. Waite said his club cannot guard Arnstein one-on-one, but to defend the league’s top goal scorer will be a team effort.
“Tom is good … and Sarabia too,” Waite said. “When it comes to playoffs, a lot can said about heart and energy. I feel like when a team believes in itself it can accomplish incredible things. I feel like we are starting to build that belief.”
Fallon, though, counters with its own goal scorers in Fidel Enriquez, who leads the club with 17, and Tristan Parrott with 12. The Wave, however, spread the ball more evenly than Truckee using Austin Bischoff, Corbin Waite and Mario Ugalde as the conduits to Enrquez and Tristan Parrott.
Bischoff and Ugalde are solid on set pieces and corner kicks, while Waite’s vision allows him to thread through balls in the middle.
“We don’t have a superstar and we don’t want a superstar,” Nate Waite said. “We’re going to get success or failure as a team.”
The backline, though, will be critical in stopping Arnstein and Sarabia. Fallon’s Josh Moulton, Manuel Gonzalez and company must stay organized and on their lines to control the pace.
In addition, goalkeeper Miguel Perez must avoid allowing shots to slid through his grasp, an issue Nate Waite has focused on in practice.
“We need to be vocal and can’t be timid,” Nate Waite said. “There can’t be doubt. That’s what kind of killed us in several games. We have the potential of being aggressive.”