Northern Division I-A soccer | Truckee girls edge Vikings for regional title | SierraSun.com

Northern Division I-A soccer | Truckee girls edge Vikings for regional title

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

A single goal was all that separated the Truckee and South Tahoe girls soccer teams between their two regular-season meetings. So it was only fitting that one would earn the Northern Division I-A regional title by the same slim margin.

In front of a large crowd representing both schools at Truckee's Riverview Sports Park on Saturday, Truckee sophomore Zareli Villa snapped a 2-2 tie in the 65th minute, and the Wolverines held on for the 3-2 victory and No. 1 seed in the state championship tournament.

"They just wanted it," said Truckee coach Travis Spencer, whose second-seeded Wolverines (13-1-2, 18-3-2) eked out a 2-1, double-overtime win against third-seeded Spring Creek in their semifinal Friday. "They showed up today. I've noticed the last half of the season they're all about never giving up, and they proved it."

The top-seeded Vikings entered with a 16-0-1 record against league opponents (19-2-1 overall), including a 4-0 win over Lowry in a regional semifinal Friday. They defeated Truckee 1-0 on Oct. 17 and tied against the Wolverines, 1-1, on Sept. 9. The Vikings, who have won state three of the past four years, had not lost since Sept. 25, against Division I Douglas.

"To me, what was different about this time is that Truckee beat us in every phase of the game," said South Tahoe coach Jeremy Evans.

"It's kind of ironic because I think we're the better team in every phase of the game."

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South Tahoe jumped out to an early 1-0 lead just three minutes into Saturday's regional championship when freshman Annie Brejc cleaned up the rebound of a corner kick.

The lead was short-lived, however.

Truckee junior Kayla Redner fired a 20-yard free kick that banged off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal in the 15th minute. About a minute later, senior Marcelle Reynaud put Truckee up 2-1 after the ball trickled past the grip of South Tahoe goalie Alicia Rea, and Reynaud kicked it into the open net.

"We got that first goal and then Truckee came back on us. We thought we had the game won without having to work for it," Evans said.

After stern halftime talks by their coaches, the Vikings responded with the equalizer in the 45th minute, as senior Kendall Eagan beat a defender on the right wing and drilled an angled shot into the far upper corner.

Play went back and forth throughout the second half. But it was the Wolverines who managed to break the stalemate.

In the 65th minute, Villa got her foot on a loose ball directly in front of the South Tahoe goal and slipped a shot past Rea and a cluster of defenders.

Amid the excitement of the moment, Villa forgot just how the play developed.

"I really don't remember. I just remember it going into the goal," she said.

Truckee's defense and midfield held the Vikings in check the remaining 15 minutes, and senior goalie Paulina Thrasher made several clean saves to preserve the victory.

To reach the regional championship, the Wolverines needed two overtime periods before Reynaud scored the winning goal to defeat third-seeded Spring Creek, 2-1.

Truckee and South Tahoe advanced to the Division I-A state championship, which will be contested at Heritage Park in Henderson, Nev., this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 14-15.

Truckee will open with a semifinal against the South's No. 2 seed, Sierra Vista, on Friday at 6 p.m. South Tahoe will face top southern seed Faith Lutheran — a 1-0 winner over Sierra Vista in their regional final — in a semifinal Friday, also at 6 p.m. Winners square off for the state championship Saturday at noon.

Division I-A state championship

State semifinal, Friday

Faith Lutheran (No. 1 Southern) vs. South Tahoe (No. 2 Northern), 6 p.m.

Truckee (No. 1 Northern) vs. Sierra Vista (No. 2 Southern), 6 p.m.

State championship, Saturday

Semifinal winners, noon

All games at Heritage Park, Henderson, Nev.