The e-brake was pulled on Nevada’s season on Friday afternoon as Fresno routed the Wolf Pack 15-5 in a Mountain West Tournament elimination game.
So, was the season a success?
In short, no.
Nevada lost far more games than it won, finishing 19-36 and, ultimately, the success of any season will be determined by wins, losses and trophies.
However, not all seasons are created equal. Nevada is in the second year of a regime shift as T.J. Bruce molds the program to the shape of his liking. The Pack was picked to finish third in the preseason poll then took fourth in the regular season and postseason.
It’s certainly fair to say Nevada did not enter the spring with the expectations of, say, Clemson. The Tigers are one of the premier programs in the country and despite nearly costing themselves the right to host a regional, going 0-2 in the ACC Tournament over the weekend, remain a favorite as they open the NCAA Tournament this weekend.
Nevada traveled to South Carolina in the first weekend of May and played Clemson tough three times, even taking a game off the Tigers on their home field. The 1-2 weekend was a blip on the final record, but the experience of playing in such an environment will pay dividends for the young roster that aspires to play plenty of consequential contests in the years to come.
Nevada finished the regular season strong for a second consecutive season, winning four of its final six conference games (including two of three at regular-season champ, New Mexico) to fight its way into the postseason. Without the four wins, Air Force would’ve grabbed the No. 4 seed and Nevada would’ve watched the Mountain West Tournament from its computer at home.
After the first two wins of the necessary close to the regular season, Nevada celebrated the school’s first ever Governor’s Series title. It got to do so on its home field at Peccole Park as the Rebels watched from the opposing dugout.
The season was not a success. But that doesn’t mean it was a failure.
Reno allows another late tally to Colorado Springs
Two times, Reno and Colorado Springs have played this year.
Two times, Reno held a one-goal lead as the final grains of sand dripped through the hour glass.
Two times, Reno allowed the equalizer and settled for a tie.
Leading 3-2 with twominutes left on Saturday night at Colorado Springs, Reno saw its lead vanish on defender Jordan Burt’s second goal of the night.
Other than ending a three-match USL winning streak, the draw cost Reno six spots in the Western Conference Standings. Reno would have jumped into a tie for fourth place with three points. Instead, it rests in 10th.
In reality, the six spots don’t mean much in late May. The difference between 14 points and 12 points with five months left in the season is comparable to Dodger’s 1.5-game deficit (after Sunday) to the Rockies in the NL West.
Saturday’s result did not cost Reno the playoffs.
Nathan can be reached via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ was named the best column in the state of Nevada (community division) by the Nevada Press Association. It runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning. Nathan’s weekly radio show airs Fridays at noon on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM.