Lady Wolverines survive semifinal thriller

The three-time defending state champion Truckee girls’ soccer team clinched a berth into the Class 3A state tournament this afternoon, taking a dramatic 2-1 overtime victory against Incline.

The Wolverines trailed by a goal for the majority of the game, but found the equalizer with roughly two minutes left to force overtime. The girls then netted the game winner early in the first overtime period to advance to tomorrow’s Class 3A Northern League championship match.

“We lived to fight another day,” said Coach Kevin Nichols. “We definitely didn’t want the season to end today.”

The Highlanders took a 1-0 advantage early on, scoring in the third minute of the match. Incline then went into a defensive shell in an effort to hold off the Wolverines offense.

The strategy worked through the remainder of the half and most of the second as Truckee dominated possession of the ball and put numerous shots on goal — including two that went off the crossbar — without any success.

With roughly two minutes remaining in the match it appeared Incline would hang on to upset Truckee, but then senior Emily Monson slotted a ball through the middle to senior Alondra Villa, who buried the equalizer to force overtime.

“I was in the box and I saw Emily with the ball,” said Villa. “I just took a touch, shot it with my right foot and I saw it go into the back of the net. It was just a relief. Thanks to the soccer gods.”

The Wolverines continued to pressure the Highlanders in overtime, and in the eighth minute, junior Sophia Sullivan crossed the ball to Monson, who drilled a shot into the right corner of the goal for the game winner.

“I play center defense, and we’ve been waiting for a ball to come over the top of the box that whole game,” said Monson. “I just knew that Sophia Sullivan would have an amazing cross through. I was just ready. I was like, ‘I got this. It’s coming towards me.’ I just hit it and I hit it good, and it went in.

“Honestly, I didn’t know how to feel, and then everyone hits you, and you’re all, ‘I just scored, that really happened.’”

The win sends the Wolverines into tomorrow’s Northern League title game against South Tahoe.

“I’m just proud of the girls for not losing their composure and believing that what we we’re doing was going to pay off,” said Nichols. “We continued to battle and continued to create chances and finally we got one.”

The Truckee win didn’t come without a price, however, as the squad lost junior Jessica Sambrailo, who went down with an apparent knee injury. Sambrailo joined the team midway through the season after suffering a torn ACL last year.

“She’s been playing well, really well,” said Nichols. “She’s in high spirits and is putting the team first.”

 The win also earned Truckee a berth into the Class 3A state tournament, which will begin next Friday at Wooster High School in Reno.

“We’ve worked so hard this season, and we deserve to go,” said Monson on the team qualifying for the state tournament.

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