The Sparks defense shut down the perennial state power Lakers, helping SHS goalkeeper Javier Torres record a shutout. Torres and the Railroaders’ defense turned away all nine shots the California school took.
On the flip side, Sparks racked up 22 shots on goal and found the net twice. Sparks player-of-the-year candidate, junior Abey Quintino, continued his torrid offensive season. The Railroaders’ leading scorer posted both Sparks goals Tuesday, pacing the Rail City’s school’s offense.
“We are doing a lot of things well and getting good open opportunities. Maybe the Luck of the Irish isn’t the right term,” said Sparks coach Frank Avilla, alluding to his team’s roster, which is dominated with Hispanic players. “But that’s what we’ve got ... We are playing as a group and the boys have bought into the discipline. We are playing simple, strong soccer and the kids believe in each other.”
In the 34th minute, Oscar Carvajal sent a crossing pass in front of the North Tahoe goal. The soccer ball ricocheted off the Lakers’ goalkeeper and a defensive teammate before Quintino corralled it and fired it into the back of the net.
The goal, gave Sparks a 1-0 edge as the two foes went into halftime.
Seven minutes after the intermission, Quintino tacked on an unassisted goal. He broke through the middle of the field with the ball, beat a pair of Lakers defenders and dribbled into an open area in the box. Quintino then got off a shot that sent the ball into the left side of the net about half way up and saw the home team get its insurance goal.
Sparks now sits 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Tahoe League play. The Railroaders’ lone loss came on opening day (Sept. 2), at Truckee, the defending 3A state champion.
Sparks plays at Battle Mountain Thursday and at home Saturday against Dayton before returning to league play next Tuesday at home against Truckee.
“This win should propel us. I know Truckee is better than they were before, but so are we. We are more disciplined than when we played the first time. We are getting ready. But we still can’t look by anybody,” Avilla said.