South Tahoe soccer falls to Truckee in state championship
SPARKS, Nevada — South Tahoe senior Samantha Frates limped off the grassy pitch grimacing. Vikings freshman Giovana DeLoia had tissue in her nose trying to stop it from bleeding after taking an accidental elbow to the face.
Bumps and bruises and blood and tears were all part of a physical state 3A championship soccer game against rival Truckee. And the injuries no doubt felt a lot worse after the Wolverines beat the Vikings 2-0 Saturday, Nov. 11, at Spanish Springs High School.
The end result doesn’t show just how close the game was, or how the Vikings controlled the opening half.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Vikings head coach Mark Salmon. “The girls left it all out on the field and that’s all we can ask of them. Not to take anything away from Truckee, but they have one player who is really dangerous. I’d say we had the run of play. Maybe not so much in the second half, but in the first half we were the more dangerous team. It was the best we’ve played them all year.”
Both fan bases were well represented and verbally sparred throughout the contest. Truckee started the “Here we go Truckee, here we go!” chant which was followed by the South Tahoe side trying the same thing, only to have the Wolverine fans come back with “We can’t hear you, we can’t hear you.” Finally, when the game was nearing its end, a South Tahoe fan yelled, inappropriately, but humorously for the rest of the Vikings fans, “Hey Truckee, isn’t that the team that beat you yesterday?” as the Sunrise Mountain boys’ soccer team entered the field for its championship game after knocking out the Wolverines the day before.
“The semifinal always seems to get more people here, it’s like ‘oh, we have to get them there.’ They take one day off but not back-to-back, but we had big crowds both days here. The support was energizing for sure.”
The Vikings enjoyed possession much more than the Wolverines in the opening 40 minutes, but that “one player” Salmon spoke about was Ava Seelenfreund.
The Truckee star junior, who scored 47 goals this season before the championship game, scored twice more against South Tahoe. She dribbled around a couple of defenders and put herself one-on-one with freshman keeper Phoebe Barkann, who had no chance to make a save with just over 11 minutes left in the half.
It appeared goals were coming for the Vikings. But they never came.
“We weren’t about to go out without a fight, and we all fought with everything we had in the tank,” said Vikings senior Bailey Segers. “We have some real young players out here with us and they know what it feels like and I hope they go out even hungrier and get their title because they deserve it. I felt like we were the better team today and a couple of goals didn’t show that. They have more time than me because my time is up. I don’t plan on playing in college, so this is my final game.”
The Vikings were also down 1-0 in the first half the day before against Sunrise Mountain when they rallied for a 3-2 victory in double overtime to reach the state final.
“Yeah, of course it was deflating being down at half,” Salmon said. “We had the run of play, we were dangerous, but I thought maybe that’s good because that’s the way it was yesterday and the girls had to fight a little more.”
The Vikings were hoping the fourth time was the charm after not having defeated the Wolverines in three previous contests. They had tied once and lost the other two times. But that tie was the only blemish on the Wolverines’ record for the last two and a half months. Truckee had not lost since Aug. 26, a span of 21 games.
Truckee was stronger in the second and each team possessed the ball equally. Seelenfreund put the game away with 15 minutes left with a point-blank header off a corner a kick.
“We played with our hearts,” said Vikings senior Lulu Gutierrez. “I think every moment was spectacular, we couldn’t have done any better today. This team has inspired me and means a lot to me. For this to be my last year it’s just incredibly sad. Overall, we received second placed and we earned that. I couldn’t be anymore proud.”
“We’re just like a family,” Segers said. “We’re so close and we’ve made so much progress from where we started, it’s unbelievable. I couldn’t be more proud of this team and where we ended up.”