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State soccer: Sparks boys fall just short

12:00 AM, Nov. 11, 2012 EST

SECTA had one huge obstacle standing in its way from a perfect season and its first Division I-A boys soccer state championship.

Sparks was the huge task, as the Railroaders made the final for the fourth-straight season.

Despite playing with a man down for the majority of the game, the Roadrunners made plays when needed and grabbed a 3-2 victory Saturday morning at Heritage Park.

In a contest which featured one red card and a pair of yellow cards on the SECTA bench, it was the play of Julio Vargas and Rafael Valdez that made the difference down the stretch.

"Losing this match doesn't define our season," said Sparks coach Frank Avilla after an emotional embrace with his seniors. "This team has played the game the way soccer should be played, and I'm very proud of that. We had our chances today, but give Tech all the credit in the world."

Rafael Munoz broke a 1-1 tie with a blast in front midway through the second half to give SECTA the lead. Vargas scored on a penalty kick with about 16 minutes left, and it appeared SECTA was in control at 3-1.

However, as the Railroaders have proven all season, there's no quit in Sparks. Kevin Partida's header with 6 minutes left found the net, cutting the margin to one.

But SECTA controlled the ball in the final minutes to grab the hard-fought win, ending the season at 23-0.

Division III

The team that perhaps did the most celebrating on Saturday was Incline, which won a pair of Division III titles over rival Whittell.

In the boys' game, Kyle Reeves nailed the game-winner just 75 seconds into overtime as the Highlanders grabbed a 4-3 win.

Incline also took the girls' title, as four different players scored in the Highlanders' 4-0 win over Whittell.

"I've never won two titles in one day," Incline coach Tom Canino said. "It's a pretty special moment for our program to accomplish this type of feat. It sure wasn't easy, but we will take the results."

The boys' game truly wasn't easy, as the Highlanders erased an early 2-0 deficit.

Mark Waite scored a pair of goals in the first 10 minutes as the Warriors, winless against the Highlanders this season, took the two-goal lead.

However, Marlon Correa's goal just before halftime gave Incline a huge boost of momentum going forward. Drew Bessette scored twice for Incline in the second half, on assists from Correra and Salvador Vargas.

"The goal just before halftime was huge, because we were on our heels a bit," Canino said. "It's tough playing someone several times in a season, but we can only play who's on the schedule."

Hannah Johnson, Kandace Dirga, Ella Breider and Kayla Goldberg scored the goals for the Highlanders.

In other championships games Saturday, Bishop Gorman won its first boys' title since 2007 with a 1-0 win over Green Valley in Div. I. Thanks to a 4-3 edge in penalty kicks, Arbor View defeated Green Valley in the girls' Div. I game to win its second state championship in three years.

In the Div. I-A girls' title match, Pahrump Valley won its second-straight crown with a 3-0 win over Faith Lutheran.




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