Storming into 1st place
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Round 1 goes to South Tahoe.
Giovana De Loia and Kelsey Hogan scored 15 minutes apart in the second half Monday evening, both on assists from Angelina Maltase, and the Lady Vikings beat rival Truckee 2-0 in South Lake Tahoe.
“Truckee gave us a good game. It wasn’t easy,” Hogan said. “Our shots were pretty lucky I think, but we were aggressive for most of the game and we have to be respectful to Truckee because they put up a fight.”
The teams split four games last year, with South Tahoe beating Truckee for the Northern Nevada crown and the Wolverines topping the Vikings a week later in the state championship.
Some faces have changed from last year, but the intensity is always ramped up when the teams meet.
Vikings head coach Mark Salmon was pleased with his team in setting the tone early and beating their rivals at home.
“It’s huge especially to win at home,” Salmon said. “We’ve gotta win at home. It relieves the tension a bit when we go to their place. We both had blips earlier this year, we both had draws, we tied Elko they tied North Tahoe, so it’s a big one. You don’t want to fall behind early. The No. 1 seed has a totally different ride in the playoffs.”
The teams challenged each other throughout with physical tackles and non-stop battles for possession.
They entertained a large, bundled up crowd due to a winter-like chill in the air after the season’s first real snow painted Lake Tahoe’s tallest mountains earlier in the day.
Both teams it seemed were feeling each other out in the first 40 minutes, with nobody wanting to take a risk, or make a mistake.
“Much respect to Truckee, they looked sharp like always,” Salmon said. “We were a little conservative early. We were feeling each other out, it’s the ultimate chess match really. Nobody wanted to take a chance and be left susceptible to counter attack.”
South Tahoe sophomore midfielder Marley Befu was all over the field making tackles and challenges.
“It went pretty well tonight,” Befu said. “Our team possessed well in the back and midfield. We got the ball out wide and were able to distribute and eventually scored two goals. And then we held them pretty good.”
Befu also had a good view of De Loia’s goal 10 minutes into the second half that broke the scoreless tie.
“Anjelina played a through ball to Giovana at left wing,” said Befu, who limped off the field in the second half momentarily with a leg cramp. “She took it inside, shot it and scored into the right corner. The goal was exciting for us. Truckee is our rival and we get super excited when we go up.”
Hogan put the game away with about 16 minutes left.
Maltase chipped a slow bounce pass into the middle of the field to a wide open Hogan, who glanced at the goal while the ball was en route and then one-timed a chip shot over the keeper’s head from about 25 yards.
Hogan didn’t make the solid contact she was after, but her accuracy was spot on.
“Giovana had a great shot, I had a lucky shot, Marley was tackling everywhere the whole game, Anjelina is outstanding and always sets the tone, Sarah (Hardin) and Jenna (Pevenage) were clearing and the defense held their own. Giovana’s goal changed the game, and then after my goal, we locked in on defense.”
The Vikings (6-2-1, 5-0-1 3A Northern League) moved into first place in league alone ahead of Truckee (4-1-1 Northern) and Elko (3-2-1 Northern).
South Tahoe plays at 6 p.m. Friday against North Tahoe (3-2-2 Northern) in Tahoe City.
“Everybody is giving us different looks early in the year,” Salmon said. “It’s teaching and challenging for us.”