TRUCKEE, Calif. — What began as a typical, tightly contested battle between the Incline and Truckee girls soccer teams Monday turned into an atypical, one-sided affair midway through the second half.
Sophomore Vanessa Andrade and the visiting Highlanders scored three unanswered goals after the 56th minute to earn a 3-1 nonleague win over their old soccer rival. The Incline victory was the second of the year over Truckee, as the Highlanders edged the Wolverines 3-2 at home on Sept. 17.
“That’s as competitive a match as we’ve had all year,” said Incline coach Tom Canino. “We talked at half about how we don’t have a lot of competitive games this year, and we may not have another one, so we needed to take advantage of the opportunity.”
The Highlanders heeded their coach’s advice.
They took control of the momentum after the first of three goals on the afternoon by Andrade knotted the score in the 56th minute. The skilled sophomore added a second goal just four minutes later to give Incline a 2-1 lead. Andrade then sealed the game while recording a hat trick in the 69th minute.
Truckee, which connected passes and pressured the Incline goal in the first half, took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute when Daisy Rivera put in the rebound of a hard shot that was taken by Nichole Graham and blocked by goalie Sarah Wright.
Play remained even throughout the first half and into the second as both offenses struggled to get quality shots on goal, credit stout defensive efforts on each side.
But as the half wore on, the Wolverines, playing shorthanded with sickness, wore down. Their defense that had stymied the Highlanders for 50-plus minutes began having a tough time clearing the ball, while the passes that connected earlier became increasingly rare.
“We ran out of energy,” said Truckee coach Katie Jamison. “Half our team is sick. We know how to play through that, but we didn’t do it.”
Incline knew what to do.
Andrade broke through 16 minutes into the half when she was stopped by a Truckee defender near the top of the box and fell to her knees, only to pop to her feet, regain her balance and blast a shot past the diving reach of Truckee goalie Paulina Thrasher.
Four minutes later, senior Elise Nelson found Andrade in front of the Truckee goal, and Andrade did the rest as she spun on her defender and kicked a low shot into the side netting, giving Incline its first lead.
“I think we really wanted to beat them, and after we really let down in the first half we all decided to pick it up in the second half,” Andrade said.
The Wolverines tried to answer with an equalizer, and they nearly did when Rivera crossed a ball to Marcelle Reynaud, who fired off a shot that sailed just wide of its mark.
Hope faded for Truckee in the 69th minute. Andrade found herself wide open directly in front of the goal — thanks to another assist from Nelson — and she kicked it into the goal before two Truckee defenders could close in on her.
“Our inability to get to the ball first made it easy for them to capitalize,” Jamison said. “The second half they read our passing game and got to it before we did.”
“I thought Truckee played a very disciplined game,” Canino said. “They ran their attack and knew what they were doing. What it came down to was we were able to make some balls bounce our way.”
Incline improved to 9-1 overall (4-1 league) and Truckee fell to 3-3.
The Highlanders play at Whittell on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and at North Tahoe on Thursday, Oct. 3.