Nevada Union boys soccer battles the Grizzlies |

Nevada Union boys soccer battles the Grizzlies

Photo for The Union John Hart
John Hart | The Union

The Nevada Union boys soccer team has improved incredibly over the past two seasons, but on Tuesday, the Granite Bay Grizzlies showed the Miners just how far they have to go to reach the top.

The Grizzlies (2-0 Sierra Foothill League) used superior speed and strength while capitalizing on NU mistakes to take the match 3-0 at Sierra College. The win extends Granite Bay’s SFL undefeated streak to 52 games (50-0-2) dating back to 2007.

“(Granite Bay) presses very well, they close us down quickly, and individually, every single player on their team is very good, and they have some exceptional players,” NU head coach Alex Butterfield said. “There are no weak spots, so we can’t attack a weak spot.”

The Miners (0-2 SFL) were 0-10 in 2010 but emerged as a force in the SFL last season going 4-4-2 and getting a playoff bid.

Butterfield said before the season his team would truly see where it stands in the league after it faced Granite Bay. After Tuesday’s contest, he said he was confident his team can be competitive with the Grizzlies.

“Traditionally Granite Bay has been a team that has beaten us heavily and to the point where it’s almost double figures,” Butterfield said. “Today we didn’t really let them play their game. We gave them mistakes, and individually, they got goals, but as a team we didn’t let them pass and get into their game.”

Granite Bay scored quickly in the first half when Zach Vane put a shot off the right post, and it ricocheted in.

The Grizzlies didn’t wait much longer to put their second goal in, as J.C. Nichols weaved through several NU defenders and found an angle past a diving goalie.

In the first, NU’s Dominic Cressa managed to put some pressure on the Grizzlies, weaving through the defense and getting a pair of shots on goal but both times was denied.

NU controlled much of the possession in the second half but never really found a good scoring opportunity as the swarming Grizzly defense was aggressive and persistent in its attack.

Late in the second half, Granite Bay put the game away with a score by Austin Ketchersid.

“I think we showed today, and especially in the second half, that we can play with this team,” Butterfield said, “and on another day where we don’t make those errors, that we can tie a team or win against a team that traditionally beats us heavily.”

The Miners were without starting midfielder Santiago Peniche due to a hiccup in his transfer from Mexico City to Nevada Union. The error in paper work, which Butterfield called an “oversight,” also forced NU to forfeit a previous win over Rocklin.

Despite the 0-2 start to league play, Butterfield said he still believes his team will make the post season.

“We knew coming into it Granite Bay and Woodcreek were going to be on top,” Butterfield said. “If we can take the other five games, two against Roseville, two against Del Oro and beat Rocklin again, the aim is still to make playoffs, but we just have to make up for that forfeit.

“If we don’t make the playoffs, it would be an underachievement.”

The Miners will look to net their first SFL win of the season Thursday against Del Oro.

To contact Sports Writer Walter Ford, call (530) 477-4232 or email him at

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