TRUCKEE — The top of the Northern Division I-A girls soccer standings just got a bit more congested.
In a competitive, back-and-forth contest, a motivated group of Wolverines scored two unanswered goals in the final 26 minutes to turn a 2-1 halftime deficit into a crucial 3-2 win Tuesday.
“It was (a good game). I expected it,” said first-year South Tahoe coach Jeremy Evans, whose Vikings defeated Truckee 2-0 last month. “We knew Truckee would be fighting for their playoff lives. We just couldn’t match their intensity in the second half. We started to for a little bit there, but Truckee obviously wanted it more.”
The first-place Vikings now share that distinction with Fallon, as both clubs boast identical 8-1-2 league records and 26 points. Truckee, which was three points ahead of Elko (6-3-1, 19 points) for the No. 3 playoff seed before Tuesday, pulled closer to first with an 8-2-1 record and 25 points. The top four teams advance to the regional postseason tournament.
The Wolverines jumped out to an early advantage Tuesday. Just five minutes in, junior forward Marcelle Reynaud put Truckee on the board with a shot past South Tahoe goalie Alejandra Orozco, assisted by Daisy Rivera.
Play remained even the next 20 minutes as both teams’ stout defenses prevented any serious threats on goal, or dominant possession.
South Tahoe solved Truckee’s defense in 27th minute, however, as senior forward Brittany Hubberts found herself alone on a breakaway run before kicking a goal past Truckee keeper Paulina Thrasher.
With momentum on their side, the Vikings struck again eight minutes later. Junior Jordyn Dion gathered a pass in the Truckee box and blasted it into the back of the net just in time to beat a closing defender. The Vikings carried their 2-1 lead into the half.
“We reflected at halftime on how well we started the game and then what we did that caused our downfall,” Truckee coach Katie Jamison said. “And in the second half we came out and starting possessing and playing well.”
Truckee’s halftime gut check paid off about 14 minutes into the second half. Junior Sarah Svoboda took a deep free kick that bounced over a South Tahoe defender to a well-positioned Lyne Tucker, who headed it into the goal to knot the score at 2-2.
The divisional foes battled back and forth the remainder of the half, with Truckee increasingly pressuring the South Tahoe goal. Kaylee Neill nearly put the Wolverines ahead midway through with a high-arcing free kick, but it sailed just over the crossbar.
With about 10 minutes left in regulation, Truckee was awarded a free kick near the sideline, roughly 35 yards from the goal. In an effective effort to catch the Vikings off-guard, Reynaud took the kick almost immediately after the official’s whistle blew, sending a promising ball to the front of the South Tahoe goal. Speedy Truckee forward Quinn Parker then raced it down and slide-kicked the assist into the side netting, past a charging Orozco, to put the Wolverines on top for good.
“A couple of set pieces and mental mistakes,” Evans said, “and they made us pay.”
Evans concluded that the Vikings control their own destiny down the stretch as they try to lock down the top regional playoff seed. South Tahoe closes the regular season with three consecutive home games — Saturday against Lowry (1 p.m.), Friday, Oct. 25, against Elko and Saturday, Oct. 26, against Spring Creek.