South Tahoe girls ties Truckee 1-1, loses inside track to league title
The South Tahoe girls soccer team delivered one of its best performances of the season against rival Truckee on Tuesday, Oct. 27, but ultimately didn’t come away with the result it wanted. The Vikings tied Truckee 1-1 at Viking Stadium, a result that gives the Wolverines the inside track to the league championship.
“We were the more intense team and we wanted it more — unfortunately, soccer is a cruel sport sometimes,” Vikings coach Mark Salmon said. “We’re fine and we’re right where we want to be.”
South Tahoe (14-2-3, 12-1-2 I-A Northern) bounced back from an early deficit to tie the match late in the first half before both teams played to a scoreless stalemate after the break. The draw leaves Truckee (15-6-1, 13-1-1) two points ahead of the Vikings in the Div. I-A Northern League standings with one match to play.
“It’s a very good result, considering we have the inside track to finish No. 1 in league,” Wolverines coach Kyle Kelly said. “We’re pretty stoked on it.”
The Vikings controlled play from the opening kickoff Tuesday, but it was the Wolverines that scored first. On the counterattack, Truckee forward Ava Seelenfreund took a through ball to set up a one-on-one against South Tahoe goalkeeper Claudia Janese; the freshman caught a charging Janese out of the goal and hit a shot past her from 20 yards out that made it 1-0 in the 16th minute.
“The only chances they seemed to have were when we’d make a mistake and they’d look to counterattack,” Salmon said. “They did that well, and they’re dangerous.”
With the first half coming to a close, South Tahoe pulled even. Vikings forward Kenya Maltase received the ball with her back to goal just outside the 18-yard box, turned and fired a shot that snuck into the lower left corner of the net past Truckee goalkeeper Izzy Abarno in the 37th minute — both teams went into the break tied 1-1.
“An equalizer was exactly what we needed just to get our chins up a little bit,” Salmon said. “To get that from Kenya was huge.”
After halftime, South Tahoe controlled play and had a majority of the scoring chances — but couldn’t find the back of the net. Truckee spent most of the last 40 minutes playing on its side of the field, and held for the tie on despite the Vikings’ consistent pressure.
“It’s hard when you’re that close, especially when a win is pretty much a guaranteed league title,” Salmon said. “They knew this coming in and they played to win, so the tie is unfortunate.”
South Tahoe had six shots in the opening nine minutes of the second half, including a handful of near-goals. Two minutes after kickoff, Desi Benavidez fired a shot that hit off the right post, and the rebound went to Maltase in front of goal — but Maltase mishit the ball, and Annie Brejc shot the resultant loose ball over the crossbar.
“When you hit the post that many times, you’re inches away from multiple goals,” Salmon said. “But this is a game of inches and it’s unfortunate.”
In the 49th minute, Brejc hit a 15-yard shot that smacked off the crossbar and over — eight minutes after that, Grace Schouten had a breakaway thwarted with a sliding save from Abarno. Truckee generated its three second-half shots all on the counterattack, and had a pair of corner kicks in the last 10 minutes that didn’t result in shots on goal.
“I liked the way that we played, mainly because of the intensity,” Salmon said. “We just wanted it, and it’s rare to see the girls put that much energy into the match — it shows that if they do that every single time, we’re the team to beat.”
Both teams conclude their league schedule at home Thursday, Oct. 29. South Tahoe faces Fernley while Truckee hosts Lowry. If the Wolverines beat or tie the Buckaroos, they will win the league title and earn the top seed for the regional playoffs.
The Vikings face Fernley on Thursday at Viking Stadium, with kickoff at 6 p.m. South Tahoe concludes the regular season at home against Incline on Monday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m. The Div. I-A Northern Region tournament kicks off Thursday, Nov. 5, in Elko.
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