Tide has turned: South Tahoe soccer routs Truckee
South Tahoe Lady Vikings head coach Mark Salmon was anxious Tuesday through the first 10 minutes of his team’s soccer game against archrival Truckee.
“The first 10 minutes we were on our heels and I was pretty nervous because Truckee had just beaten North Tahoe, badly,” Salmon said. “They had the run of play and were putting us under pressure, something we wanted to do to them.”
A couple of lineup switches and everything changed.
Freshmen Anjelina Maltase scored a pair of goals, freshman Marley Befu and sophomore Giovana De Loia each added single goals and the Vikings routed the Wolverines 4-1. It was the first South Tahoe victory over Truckee since Oct. 17, 2014, a span of 11 games that included three ties and four one-goal losses.
South Tahoe has been knocked out of the postseason by Truckee in each of the past two seasons, including last year in the state championship.
“Ava (Seelenfreund) has usually been the difference,” Salmon said. “We had always changed the way we play when we faced Truckee to try to stop Ava, but we came into this game and we’re fast and powerful and it was like, ‘let’s see if teams can catch us.’ We have a dynamic attack. Ava is going to get her goals, but I’ve got a lot of faith in my defense. I think our defense can hold teams to fewer goals than we can generate. We did a good job of bottling up Ava and got her frustrated.
“Beating them felt amazing,” added Salmon. “It was a breakthrough game and we’re not looking back. The tide has changed and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon. We’re stacked.”
And he’s not kidding. The Vikings are loaded with young stars. Thirty-eight of their 55 goals this season have come from sophomores or freshmen. And their sophomore goalkeeper Phoebe Barkann has surrendered just seven goals in 12 games this season and just two in eight Northern League contests.
South Tahoe on Tuesday scored the lone goal of the first half and exploded for three in the second 40 minutes, led by Maltase. Maltase, who was moved to center on the front line for the Truckee game, has scored six goals and assisted on eight others through 12 games.
“Anjelina played out of her head,” Salmon said. “She made a statement that she wants to keep that No. 9 spot as the center on our front line. It’ll be hard to shake her out of that position now. She’s big and physical.”
And she’s just a freshman, like Befu. Kelsey Hogan and De Loia are only sophomores and are the team’s leading scores with 12 goals apiece. Befu has six goals this season.
The Vikings celebration, and game, was prematurely cut short. They lost senior leader Lillie McGuire to an injury with six minutes left in the game and the Truckee coach and referees decided to end the game at that point, Salmon said.
He also said it was OK that the victory party was cut short.
“The injury to Lillie took the wind out of our sails and we didn’t really celebrate after the game was called but that was fine, we still have North Tahoe on Friday and a lot of work to do the rest of the season,” Salmon said. “I want the girls to keep their laser focus.”
South Tahoe (11-1, 8-0 Northern) next will host North Tahoe (7-1 Northern) at 3 p.m. Friday in another big match to end the first half of league season.
The Vikings defeated the Lakers last year on the last day of the regular season to earn a higher seed and forced North Tahoe go through eventual state champion Truckee to try to reach the state playoffs. The Lakers suffered a 3-2 loss to the Wolverines and missed out on state.
“I’m sure they’re going to remember that,” Salmon said. “And I’m sure they’ll want to give us their best game.”