South Tahoe girls soccer falls behind early, loses 3-2 to rival Truckee under the lights
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — The South Tahoe girls soccer team fell behind Truckee early on in a 3A Northern League showdown Wednesday, Oct. 19. Against their rivals, a quick two-goal deficit ultimately proved too much for the Vikings to overcome.
South Tahoe lost to Truckee 3-2 under the lights at Viking Stadium in the latest installment of the cross-lake rivalry. The result kept the Wolverines undefeated in 3A Northern play and allowed them to claim at least a share of the league title.
“Truckee played championship-caliber soccer, and we need to get that level,” Vikings coach Mark Salmon said.
Eight minutes into Wednesday’s match, South Tahoe (10-5, 9-3 3A Northern) trailed. Eleven minutes later, the Vikings were down by two goals — a deficit they never completely erased.
“It was a few missing pieces and we should have been more alert,” Salmon said. “All the simple things really matter in a game like this, because you know you get limited chances.”
Truckee (14-1, 13-0) opened the scoring by quickly converting a free kick 20 yards out in the eighth minute. While the Vikings were still setting up their wall, Amber Simonpietri astutely slid a low shot to the far post that South Tahoe couldn’t defend — the shot hit off the post and in to make it 1-0.
“There was preparation for a whistle, and they went ahead and kicked it,” Salmon said.
In the 19th minute, a South Tahoe turnover in the box led to a chance for Truckee — and the visitors took advantage. Zareli Villa took the ball near the top of the box, beat a defender and hit a left-footed shot that found the back of the net and gave the Wolverines a 2-0 lead.
Five minutes after falling behind by two goals, South Tahoe responded to make it 2-1. Junior Bailey Segers corralled a loose ball 10 yards from goal and looped a shot over Truckee goalkeeper Izzy Abarno to bring the Vikings within a goal.
The match was back and forth after the Vikings scored, but just before the break Truckee turned a set piece into its third goal of the half. A free kick from Heather Pendleton was blocked, and the ball fell to her after a failed clearance attempt — the senior blasted a shot into the top right corner to extend the Wolverines’ lead to 3-1 in the 37th minute.
“It’s composure, and I think sometimes our girls are so fired up for a game like this that they don’t slow down and play safe,” Salmon said. “They’re trying to make the big play and they want to do it themselves.”
Chances were hard to come by for South Tahoe after the break, as Truckee relied on possession and defense to protect its two-goal lead. With the match winding down, however, the Vikings made things interesting.
Junior Annie Brejc took a through ball and got behind Truckee’s defense before being cut down on the breakaway. The tackle from behind in the box resulted in a penalty kick that Brejc coolly converted to make it 3-2 in the 74th minute.
“Leave it to Annie to create a play like that, get herself in the box and draw a foul,” Salmon said.
Though the tackle denied a clear scoring chance, no card was shown. In a collision that wasn’t as clear five minutes later, South Tahoe’s Claudia Janese was sent off with a red card after she and Simonpietri collided while both going for the ball.
“A goal-preventing tackle is an automatic red card — that’s just the way the rules go,” Salmon said. “Then they’re playing with a man down, it’s 3-2 and it’s a totally different game.”
After pulling within a goal, South Tahoe couldn’t generate any scoring chances over the last six minutes. The Vikings were unable to break through in their two regular season meetings with the Wolverines, and now will look to reverse that trend in a potential postseason meeting.
“These are the two best teams in the North, and it’s a shame if we don’t both go to state,” Salmon said. “It’s Truckee and South Tahoe like it always is, and it should be us — we should meet again in the regional championship.”
In the boys match on the North Shore, South Tahoe fell at Truckee 7-0 as the Wolverines completed the season sweep. The loss dropped the Vikings to 3-8-1 in league play, and 3-10-2 overall.
Both teams return to action Friday, Oct. 21, when they face Elko. The boys game is at South Tahoe Middle School while the girls travel to play the Indians — kickoff for both matches is scheduled for 4 p.m.