South Tahoe girls soccer falls to Truckee 7-5 in 3A Northern Region championship, takes momentum from near-comeback into state
WINNEMUCCA, Nev. — A massive comeback attempt from the South Tahoe girls soccer team ultimately fell short in the 3A Northern Region championship Saturday, Nov. 5. Even though the Vikings fell to Truckee in a 12-goal thriller, a big second-half rally allowed them to take valuable momentum into the state playoffs.
Second-seeded South Tahoe lost to 3A Northern League champion Truckee 7-5 in a wild regional title match at Lowry High. The Vikings trailed by five goals at halftime and eventually pulled within one after the break before coming up short.
“Never in soccer have I seen something like that or been a part of it,” Vikings coach Mark Salmon said. “It was interesting the way it all went down.”
South Tahoe (16-6) found itself in a huge hole early on against the Wolverines on Saturday. Truckee (20-1) appeared on its way to a third win over the Vikings this season — and it looked like it would be a lopsided result.
“Truckee changed its game plan — they didn’t try to possess and instead pinged balls over the top,” Salmon said. “They played balls in and created one-on-one chances, and because we were opened up our backs didn’t recover.”
The Wolverines’ five-goal outburst before the break included a hat trick from sophomore Ava Seelenfreund in a 20-minute span. South Tahoe was shaken at the break, but showed a potential season-changing resolve after halftime.
“I have never seen our team have such a meltdown, and then such a comeback with so much heart,” Salmon said.
South Tahoe got on the board in the 46th minute, the first of five goals after the break against a Truckee side that had allowed 12 goals combined in 18 matches against league opposition. The Vikings came within a goal at 6-5 and were pushing to tie the match when the Wolverines shut the door with their seventh goal of the contest.
For South Tahoe, the two-goal loss felt more like a win after its big second half. And for Truckee, it was the opposite sentiment.
“We were celebrating it as if we had won — it was the best loss we’ve ever had as a team,” Salmon said. “There was no sadness on our sideline. We knew what we had done and that the second half was more important, because that’s what takes us into state.”
In the regional championship loss, South Tahoe got goals from five different players. Seniors Emma Dayberry and Jennifer Valdivia found the back of the net along with juniors Annie Brejc, Bailey Segers and Samantha Frates.
“I’m not sure I would change places with them for a regional title, knowing that we got the better of them in the second half,” Salmon said.
South Tahoe advanced to the regional title game and secured a seventh straight state tournament appearance with victories over 2A Northern third seed Pershing County and 3A Northern third seed North Tahoe in consecutive days. The Vikings trailed the Lakers 30 seconds into their match Friday, Nov. 4, before rallying for a 5-2 win.
“Some of our key players really stepped up in that game and took it upon themselves to put forth the effort they have for four years,” Salmon said. “They showed the team how it looks and elevated their game to an even higher level.”
The Vikings begin their quest for a fifth state title in seven seasons when they open the 3A State tournament Friday, Nov. 11, against Southern Region top seed Western (Las Vegas) (15-4-4) at Bettye Wilson Park in Las Vegas. Truckee faces Southern second seed SECTA (Paradise, Nev.) (14-4-3) in the other semifinal — both matches are scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
“We still have that bad taste in our mouths from last year losing in the championship,” Salmon said. “This gives us a chance at redemption as far as preparation goes and making sure no box is left unchecked to give us the best chance possible to bring this thing home.”