Underdog soccer rises up for finale
It was a picture-perfect underdog story.
The Greenwave soccer team closed its season at home, Wednesday, breaking a season-long losing streak by tying 2-2 against Incline.
The match was hard fought. Fallon came out with lots of intensity and energy in the first half with Bryan Ugalde scoring the opening goal in the first 8 minutes. Both teams fought hard from there, denying the other chances at the goal. The Greenwave’s intensity kept up, though, and much of the half was played in Incline’s territory. By halftime, Fallon led 1-0.
The fight kept up as the second half started. The Greenwave played hard and kept the Highlanders away from the goal. Almost halfway through, though, Incline gained the advantage; they shot in a goal at the 26 minute mark, then another a minute later. With Incline’s rally Fallon struggled to deny shots on the goal and play was kept in Greenwave territory for much of the half.
Then the magic moment happened as Adrian Martinez nailed an arcing shot that sailed over the Incline goalkeeper’s head and tied the match. The fans exploded with cheers as Fallon fought for another goal. While they came back with renewed intensity, it was not to be and the ref’s whistle sounded the end of the match and season.
Fallon coach Nathan Toigo said the match was a good example of “what not giving up looks like.” He recalled they were winning the ball in the middle and pressed Incline the whole time. He said keeping up the intensity and using speedy players to keep ahead of the Highlanders paid off.
Ugalde said it was a good match and they brought it back after Incline took the lead. He said everyone was excited for their goals; he added they could have done better, but felt it was overall a really good match.
“We finished this strong and did what we could,” Ugalde said.
Co-captain Kevin Duenas said they showed lots of improvement after a rough season. He said they gave it their all against Incline and everyone tried their best. Ugalde added they started the season with a small team and worked hard to reach the finale.
“Every game I saw improvement,” Ugalde said. “Every single game, improvement.”
Ugalde thanked Toigo for his coaching and driving them to improve; he said he did well as a first-year coach. Ugalde also thanked everyone who came to help and support them during the season.
Toigo said the team is still progressing, even with the season’s end. He noted everyone but the two exchange students is eligible to return next year and they plan to keep getting better.
“Hopefully they’ll just keep getting better and working on their fundamentals,” he said.
This winter, Toigo said he hopes to hold an indoor soccer camp so the players can continue to improve and learn. He also hopes to grab the interest of younger athletes to pick up the sport. Ugalde said by next year the Greenwave should have a strong team ready to field.
“As long as we stick together we’ll be great next season,” Duenas said. “We are a young team, but we are definitely improving; we really showed this game what we can do.”