The taste of bitterness sits with the Fallon girls soccer team.
After an ugly 2-0 loss to Truckee in the regional playoffs last season, the Lady Wave is determined to avenge the loss and finally reach the state tournament.
Returning is a core of seniors and juniors ready to make the leap.
To make the jump, however, Fallon must score, something it has been unable to do in its past three postseasons.
“Having six strong juniors is the core of it,” coach Kelly Spicer said. “We have to move to the ball. We have to win the 50-50 balls. The better teams don’t let the ball hit the ground. It’s something we want to develop this year.”
Despite the history, Spicer is confident his players will take the next step in upping their offensive game. A combination of fitness, speed and passing will allow the Lady Wave to create chances and sustain pressure on opposing defenses.
But the disappointment is fresh in the minds of the juniors, who experienced what last year’s senior class went through for years. The offseason workouts, Spicer said, are critical for the Lady Wave to bust through the stranglehold by defending state champ South Tahoe, Truckee and even Elko, who missed last year’s state tournament but knocked out Fallon three years ago.
“We plan on going to state,” Britney Wallace said.
“We want to take that loss (in the playoffs) and use it,” Macy Myers added.
Fitness, meanwhile, is another key for a successful run, Spicer said. With a lower turnout than in years past, the third-year coach has a smaller roster, which will result in fewer substitutes.
“When we are doing drills, we got to do them 100 percent,” Spicer said.
As for their technical game, Spicer said the focus has centered on passing, crosses and headers. In addition, he said limiting touches to two per player will allow for more creative play, keep opposing defenses guessing and prevent losing possession.
“You can see the difference when they do two-touch,” Spicer added.
The Lady Wave’s size, however, is an area the club must overcome. To counter the lack of height, Spicer said speed, passing and shooting is key to create scoring chances.
He has stressed for the girls to take the open shot, especially from outside the goal box. Throughout the summer and fall camps, though, Spicer has noticed an improved effort in ripping shots from all angles.
Taking most of those shots will be Myers, Rebecca Mills and Savannah Sweeney, who spearhead the attack. Spicer said each brings an aggressive style of play and are not afraid to shoot.
In the midfield, Wallace and Kayla Biggs are penciled in as starters, while the third spot is up for grabs. Spicer said Mills may also play in the midfield along with Kailey Davis.
“We had a really solid defense (last year),” Myers said. “We have really good chemistry. Our whole attacking side of our team clicks amazingly.”
The four midfielders are key in transition as they take the ball from the backline and open up space for the forwards to attack.
As for the backline, Mayzie Jones, Kayce Mulder, Madison Perazzo and Megan and Jordin Warner. Of the five, only Perazzo is new to the line and a stingy unit that only surrendered 19 goals and assisted with 12 shutouts.
“Our defense is great and really good at getting it to the wings,” Myers said.
In goal, Cheyenne Sweeney saw limited action as the backup last season but will take on the starting role this year.
“She just has to believe in herself,” Spicer said. “Her teammates trust her, but she has to give it to herself.”