Truckee rallies to beat South Tahoe on senior night


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The best two soccer teams in Nevada the past few years waged another epic struggle on Wednesday.

With about 100 family members in the stands and another several dozen on the hillsides surrounding the field, South Tahoe and Truckee put on an entertaining show.

South Tahoe jumped on top with two spectacular goals that thrilled the home crowd, but the Vikings couldn’t keep Truckee and its championship pedigree from rallying to earn a 5-3 victory.

These teams have battled in the state championship game for the past three years with Truckee taking home the crown all three times, and have won four straight titles overall. With a pandemic shortened season and no playoffs, Wednesday’s game was as close as it gets to a state title.

The rivals played with intensity reserved for each other. And the energy was especially high for the Vikings on senior night.

“It was emotional,” said South Tahoe’s Kelsey Hogan. “It’s hard. A lot of us grew up wanting to be a Viking. It’s just been the best experience. Although we didn’t win the game, it was a good night. I’m thankful for all the girls and my family. It was a good, competitive game.”

Hogan helped the Vikings get on the board 6 minutes into the game.

From the far left side of the field, Hogan booted a left-footed cross to the other side of the field looking for Giovana De Loia who raced the goalie to the ball just inside the goal box.

De Loia won that race and sliced a shot past the goalie. The slow-rolling ball seemed like it took a minute to reach the net, but it crossed the goal line right before a Truckee defender could make a play.

“It’s just Kelsey,” De Loia said of the crossing pass. “Her and I have been doing that for years, just cross the field and one of us finishes.”

The Hogan-De Loia combo struck again late in the first half.

Hogan explored space with a run down the right side. Under defensive pressure and still on the run, Hogan near the corner of the field, lofted a high arcing cross to the back post. And De Loia was there, of course, to volley the ball out of the air and into the net.

“I knew when I kicked it that Giovana was going to get it,” Hogan said. “Giovana and I have a sense and that’s just how we score.”

“It was a good game, we played well and it was nice to score one last time on the home field,” De Loia said.

Leading 2-0 in the closing moments of the first half, Truckee switched the momentum with a goal in the final minute. The shot was placed perfectly out of reach of keeper Phoebe Barkann. The ball hit the post and careened almost parallel to the goal line but just trickled over for the score.

Truckee tied the game on another perfectly placed shot that rocketed off the crossbar and bounced almost straight down, but just behind the goal line with about 30 minutes left in the game.

The Wolverines grabbed the lead with 19 minutes to go on a corner kick.

Just a minute later South Tahoe got even.

Freshman Olivia Hall took the free kick from about 30 yards, from above the corner of the penalty box. Normally Hogan takes those kicks but she had cramping issues in the final 30 minutes. Both calves cramped but somehow she returned to the game after about 10 minutes stretching on the sidelines.

Hall made the most of her opportunity with a beautiful kick that rose just above Truckee’s three-person wall and curled high over the goalie’s head and into the net.

“I unfortunately could not shoot the ball with my leg,” Hogan said. “But Olivia Hall is a freshman and she already is amazing.”

“I could tell right when she hit it that it was going in, It was perfect,” De Loia said.

The tie was short-lived as Truckee scored the game winner with about 5 minutes left and added the dagger goal with about 2 minutes left.

The Vikings (5-1) were scheduled to play Hug at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Reno and then finish the season with another clash against the Wolverines on their field at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, April 7.

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