The Railroaders had plenty of chances against Sierra League rival North Tahoe, but too much adrenaline turned into a little nervousness and might have left the Maroon and Gold with a closer game than it expected.
Still, Sparks was able to tone down the excitement in the second half and recorded a 6-1 home triumph.
“I hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us. We’ve got to finish,” Sparks boys soccer coach Frank Avilla said. “It doesn’t matter how many shots we take if we don’t finish. It doesn’t matter how many shots we allow if they finish.”
Sparks unleashed 18 shots on goal in the first half, but only managed two goals.
About 15 minutes into the game, the North Tahoe goalkeeper made three saves within a minute span. In the minutes that followed, he made two more saves and watched a couple Railroaders shots miss the mark.
However, in the 22nd minute, Hector Hernandez beat a defender trying to chase down a loose ball, went on a quick run and buried a shot into the back of the net for a 1-0 Sparks lead.
A minute later, Kevin Partida received a pass from Vicente Cervantes and scored the Railroaders’ second goal.
Two minutes after that, Sparks was denied by a kick save.
In the 32nd minute, North Tahoe sliced the lead in half when a clear attempt was blocked and the net was left wide open for an easy goal.
The score remained 2-1 heading into halftime, but it only took two minutes for the home team to increase its advantage in the second half.
Partida assisted on an Oscar Gomez goal in the 42nd minute.
Ruben Pacheco scored back-to-back goals in the 58th and 62nd minute, making it a 5-1 game. Cervantes picked up his second assist on Pacheco’s first goal.
In the closing minutes, Hernandez added his second goal for the final 6-1 margin.
Sparks (12-0, 4-0) is back at home Thursday against bitter rival Truckee.
“Like in years past, it’s always Truckee and us,” Avilla said. “We saw them once (in the preseason) and we were on the upside. They’ve gotten better and we’ve gotten better. It’s going to be a great game. I know the boys are excited about it to get them at home. It’s going to be interesting. it’s going to be a good contest.”