Viking girls team to battle for regional title
FALLON — Two longtime rivals will battle for the Northern Division I-A girls soccer regional title Saturday.
South Tahoe and Truckee each advanced past Elko and Fallon, respectively, and will meet on the pitch at 10 a.m. with the regional title on the line.
South Tahoe, who won the league title, ran past Elko thanks to an aggressive offense and stingy defense. Jordyn Dion opened the scoring for the Vikings four minutes into the first half with a blast past the Elko goalkeeper.
“I think that early goal by Jordan Dion was key,” Jeremy Evans said. “Maybe it reinforced to Elko that ‘OK, maybe the league champs are going to take it to us. I did think Elko bounced back nicely after that.”
The dagger, perhaps, came in extra time when Jennifer Burks rolled a shot into the net with less than 20 seconds left in the first half. The offensive blitz was constant and unrelenting as the Vikings were called offsides on two would-be goals and hit the post on two other shots.
In the 45th minute, Brittany Hubberts struck gold as the forward chipped a shot past the keeper for a 3-0 lead. Zoe Dangelo added the final goal in the 79th minute to ice South Tahoe’s berth in next week’s state tournament in Dayton.
“Elko and South Tahoe have a lengthy playoff history, and Michelle (Gandolfo) coaches them well,” Evans said. “I’m happy with my group. I thought we got tons of numbers forward … when we are in attack mode we are pretty good.”
Truckee, meanwhile, handled Fallon, 3-0, with solid midfield and backline play. The turning point, according to Fallon coach Kelly Spicer, was Truckee’s early goal in the first half.
Marcelle Reynaud cradled a pass from Lynde Tucker, turned and lofted a shot just over the outstretched arms of Fallon goalie Erin Nelson in the 14th minute.
“It definitely helps to start early with a goal,” Truckee coach Katie Jamison said. “The pace was good the first half. It was nice to see all the girls play together all game.”
The Wolverines added their second goal 13 minutes later when Lizzie Larkins fed a pass to Annika Winans, who smashed a shot from 6-yards out for a 2-0 lead. Kaylee Neill chipped in with a goal off an assist from Emma Warren in the final two minutes.
Truckee’s defense, meanwhile, put a stranglehold on Fallon speedster Maddie Alegre and bottled up midfielder Monica Mills.
Fallon lost its aggressive nature as Truckee scooped up most of the loose balls and transitioned with a sharp passing game.
“We didn’t plan specifically to mark her (Alegre),” Jamison said. “We have a lot of speed and our defense is our offense, so it’s nice to have that back there.”
As for the regional title, both teams were able to secure injury-free matches, but Evans said his club is excited for the opportunity at a title.
“We’re going to come out to win,” he said. “I just want my best team to come out.”
Waiting for the Northern representatives, though, are defending champ Pahrump Valley and Faith Lutheran, who battle at 10 a.m. today for the Southern title.
South Tahoe boys fall in final minutes
The South Tahoe boys soccer team lost to Sparks, 3-2, on Friday at the Northern Division I-A boys soccer tournament in Fallon.
Sparks scored a penalty kick with about five minutes remaining to clinch a berth in the state tournament and today’s 10 a.m. regional final.
The Vikings, though, scored first when Christopher Medina put his chest on a ball and into an open net from about 1-foot out. The Railroaders, though, countered with a pair of goals to take a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Sparks’ first goal came on a free kick from about 45 yards out and landed past the South Tahoe goalie and bounced into the net.
South Tahoe answered in the 69th minute when David Rodriguez belted a hard grounder across the goal-box and into the net.
“I was impressed by the heart that they showed,” Vikings coach Ben Hannah said. “They played outside of themselves in the last 15 minutes. It came down to a mistake on a free kick and a penalty kick. Frankly, I think we outplayed this team.”
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