Lady Vikings fall to Truckee, again, in state championship soccer game
South Tahoe’s sensational soccer season came to a disappointing end in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 3A State Championships.
The Vikings jumped all over rival Truckee in the first half Saturday, Nov. 10, scoring three goals in the first 20 minutes, but ultimately drove home from Bettye Wilson Park in Las Vegas with a 4-3 loss.
It was the second straight season the Vikings fell to the Wolverines in the Nevada state final and it was the third state championship in a row for Truckee.
“It was pretty unfortunate,” said Vikings head coach Mark Salmon. “But we couldn’t have asked for a better start.”
South Tahoe came in with a plan of shooting from long distance and freshman Marley Befu blasted a shot from about 25 yards and sent it right over the top of the goalkeeper’s head five minutes into the game.
About 5 minutes later, sophomore Giovana De Loia was dragged down in the Truckee box and drew a penalty.
Senior Lillie McGuire took the kick and converted.
“We had all the confidence in the world at that point,” Salmon said. “We were off to a good roll. But, unfortunately, from that point on Ava (Seelenfreund) did what she does.”
Seelenfreund, one of the state’s top players during her four years at Truckee, drew a penalty kick after being taken down hard in the box 15 minutes into the game.
Senior Amber Simonpietri stepped in and converted the penalty kick to make the score 2-1.
But 5 minutes later, McGuire found the net again, scoring from a difficult angle at distance to give the Vikings a two-goal edge.
“Who gets three goals in the first half against Truckee, much less in the first 20 minutes?” Salmon said. “And what a way for Lillie, a senior, to go out. She scored maybe three goals during the season and scored two in her final game.”
Truckee closed the gap late in the half to make it 3-2 at the break.
Seelenfreund took over the second half while the Vikings didn’t get many scoring opportunities.
Truckee equalized with 23 minutes left when Seelenfreund took a shot surrounded by Vikings and buried it into the back of the net.
With 10 minutes left, Seelenfreund drew another penalty and booted home the game winner.
“We didn’t bottle up Ava and she was dangerous the entire second half,” Salmon said. “We had five clear chances in the first half and without her, this could have been a 4-0 drubbing. It’s like the soccer gods wanted to reward her for an awesome career. She’s just a great player.”
The Vikings (24-3) finished the season as the Northern League and north state champions but fell one win short of their season’s goal of dethroning Truckee for the state title. They reached the state final last year only to lose to Truckee.
“We’ve been to the state tournament four straight seasons and we doubled our goal total from last year and scored the most goals all-time for South Tahoe,” Salmon said. “We can’t take away anything from these girls, it just didn’t go our way. Without Ava, this could have been a 4-0 drubbing. The bus ride home, the girls let go of the loss fast and the mood was light. They knew they played well.”