Smith’s strike lifts South Tahoe over Truckee 1-0
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Goals are tough to come by when the Truckee and South Tahoe girls soccer teams clash.
After playing to a 1-1 draw in their first meeting, the Vikings jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third minute of showdown No. 2 on Friday — and that was all they needed to keep their undefeated league record intact.
“It was an ugly game, but entertaining,” South Tahoe coach Jeremy Evans said of his team’s hardfought 1-0 victory. “I think every time we play Truckee, both teams tend to not play their best. The emotions are high and they do not play as clean and composed.”
The rival contest was heated from the start, both on and off the field.
Just before game time, a group of Truckee boys soccer players marched into the stands shirtless and painted, banging drums and chanting for the Wolverines. Next to them, members of the South Tahoe JV girls team held up letters that misspelled “Truckee” in a unique and offensive manner.
Referees convened with Evans and Truckee coach Travis Spencer, and the game was delayed for about 10 minutes as the JV girls were told to drop their letters and the Truckee boys to keep their chants clean. At the half, the Truckee boys were forced to lose their drums and other artificial noisemakers, which are not allowed at NIAA events.
On the pitch, meanwhile, neither team could establish control after the early score, as play remained even in the midfield with the exception of a few promising runs by each side.
With the lack of offense, Truckee’s handball in the third minute of the game proved crucial. South Tahoe senior Jensen Smith took the ensuing free kick from about 30 yards out and couldn’t have placed it any better. She sent a rocket shot into the far upper right corner of the goal, beyond the reach of Truckee goalie Paulina Thrasher.
“She takes a lot of our set pieces. She’s a key player for us,” Evans said of Smith.
Spencer was frustrated with his team’s lack of possession. He said the Wolverines also needed to play more physically against the Vikings, who held the edge in that department, particularly in the first half.
“We never settled down and never got our passing going or moved the ball,” Spencer said. “If we play our game we can beat them. It’s just a matter of getting that game going.”
Truckee’s best chance to even the score came late in the second half when senior Marcelle Reynaud blasted a shot off the crossbar. The Vikings created a couple of opportunities after their early score but could not cash in.
“The girls really wanted it,” Evans said. “These are the two best teams in the league. I’m sure we’ll see Truckee again.”
The Vikings improved to 11-0-1 in Northern Division I-A play and 14-2-1 overall, while Truckee fell to 5-1-2 in league and 8-3-2 overall.
South Tahoe returned to action Tuesday against Fernley. The Vikings host Sparks next Tuesday at 5 p.m.