The Lady Wave soccer team has been facing an uphill battle every year but despite losing several key defenders from last year’s team, Fallon is poised to make a run at qualifying for the playoffs.
Fallon returns 10 from last year’s team that finished 3-17 but coach Randy Hines is optimistic after his group showed strong commitment in the preseason.
“Our goals are to improve from last season and make regionals,” the third-year coach said. “We have the potential and the girls have been working hard this preseason to be ready when the season starts.”
While the season started last weekend with three games at a Lake Tahoe tournament, Fallon opens the conference schedule this week. The Lady Wave hosted North Valleys on Tuesday and travels to Incline on Friday.
Fallon finished 1-1-1 in the tournament, defeating Pershing County, 5-0, and tying Sunrise Mountain, 0-0. Pahrump Valley gave Fallon its first loss, a 5-1 setback. The JV team also fared well, defeating Lowry, 2-0, and losing to Spring Creek, 1-0, and Reed, 2-0.
“The varsity girls played well this weekend,” Hines said. “We have been working hard in practice on possession and transition and when we execute, we can get into positions to score. I feel we are close to bringing it all together and with hard work and trust it will bring good results.”
Aspen Mori and Sydney Gusewelle led the Lady Wave with two goals apiece, and Lilly Howard had two assists and one goal. Bianca Lopez scored once and Gusewell had an assist.
“We played well defensively against Pershing County and Sunrise Mountain, recording a shutout in both games,” said Hines, who’s assisted by Monica Davis and Woody Swanson, and Lance Lattin coaches the JV team. “Pahrump Valley took numerous shots from outside the penalty area and that exposed a weakness that we will need to fix.”
Senior returners include Mori (midfield), Madison Guerrero (forward), Adrianna Cortex (defense), Amelia Klein (defense) and Rylee Ott (defense/midfield). Hines expects his upperclassmen to lead by example and keep the team on track of its goal to make the playoffs, which will be hosted in Fallon.
Also returning are Hailey Guerrero (junior, forward/goalkeeper), Howard (sophomore, midfield/forward), Gusewelle (junior, midfield/forward), Lopez (junior, midfield/forward) and Franny Mori (sophomore, defense/midfield). New to the team are Makayle Mathisen (junior, midfield), Aubrey Jaques (junior, defense), Taylor DeBrum (junior, goalkeeper), Danielle Kulick (junior, midfield), Meeka Erwin (junior, defense), Shealyn Snodgrass (sophomore, midfield) and Trinity Hilton (sophomore, goalkeeper/defense).
“We are a young team so we only have five seniors so the leadership from our older players is crucial,” Hines said.
Hines added that his group will be strong in the midfield but will need to work on defense. But the challenges in the backfield can be overcome.
“Our midfield is going to be very strong this year and put with our forwards, we should be able to generate offense,” he said. “Our defense and goalkeeping are the area we will need the most attention. Once they get placement and they learn to work as a unit, they can be a solid defense.”
And it helps to have three dedicated coaches to help Hines, who said it allows the team to focus on refining skills.
“I rely a lot on our assistant coaches for the ins and outs of the game as it is good to gather information from all of them,” Hines said. “This gives us the opportunity to split up in smaller groups to refine skills as needed.”
As for the league, Hines is counting on Truckee and South Tahoe to be the teams to beat, and North Tahoe and Incline should be in the mix, too. However, the rest of the division is open for the final playoff positions.
“We need to continue to improve,” Hines said. “We are making big strides to where we need to play to compete. We have the potential to be a good team, but we need to put the work in and trust each other.”