SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The first league win was on the line, but the soccer game felt like much more.
“These girls have been waiting,” South Tahoe coach Jeremy Evans said. “We’re rivals, and it always feels good to beat a rival.”
South Tahoe beat Truckee 2-0 after 90 minutes of playoff-like intensity in the first round of Northern Division I-A girls soccer on Tuesday. Both teams fought for every possession. Both teams relentlessly pushed up, and no one took plays off.
“This was a game of toughness and fitness,” Evans said, “and I think we proved, at least for tonight, that we’re the toughest team.”
South Tahoe, which usually gets off to a slow start, scored both its goals in the first 15 minutes. Jenny Burke netted a goal in the first five minutes off a pass from Jordyn Dion. Grace Schouten popped in South Tahoe’s second goal off a miscued pass from Truckee’s defense.
After the two goals, Truckee regained composure and stepped up its game.
“I honestly think we just had jitters. I know that’s an easy excuse, but we didn’t have our preseason tournament because of the smoke,” Truckee coach Katie Jamison said. “This was our second game. It was a high level of competition and it took us awhile to get into our rhythm.”
Once the Wolverines did, the game got interesting. Both teams’ defenses and goalkeepers went to work.
Truckee came out with a vengeance in the second half, but South Tahoe goalkeeper Alejandra Orozco, or “A.O.,” matched the intensity. She charged out of the box about 15 yards to slide tackle a menacing shot as it barely left the ground. Minutes later, Orozco made a swooping save off another shot flying in from the wing.
“She reads the game well. She saw when the shots were coming in and she made big saves within the right position,” Evans said. “In big games, you need your goalie to come up big and that’s what she did.”
South Tahoe’s defense was coming up big too. Riley Chapman and Jensen Smith were nearly impassable.
“The work rate of Riley, Jensen and Jordan (Dion) was just unbelievable,” Evans said.
Across the field, Truckee’s goalkeeper, Paulina Thrasher, was keeping the Wolverines within reach. With six minutes left in the game, Thrasher sprawled out to pull down a high-flying shot on goal.
“She’s very good at defining where she needs to be in the goal and being a presence there,” Jamison said.
Neither team gave in throughout the second half, but South Tahoe’s two-goal start endured.
“Truckee is a super solid team,” Evans said. “I have no doubt that we’re going to face them several more times.”
Truckee is scheduled to host Dayton on Thursday at 3 p.m. The Wolverines then play at Incline on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and at Sparks on Friday, Sept. 20, at 5 p.m.