Truckee girls complete sweep of Incline
It looked more and more like the Incline girls soccer team could avenge its early-season loss at Truckee High School as the clock ticked toward the 66-minute mark during Tuesday’s match.
But the Wolverines had other ideas ” and all they needed were the next seven minutes to prove it.
Truckee used a three-goal barrage, spanning from the 66th to 73rd minutes, to snatch victory away from the Highlanders. Truckee won 4-2, completing the two-game regular-season sweep.
Incline defeated Truckee in the Northern 3A state championship game last year. Truckee’s first-year coach Nikki Gerardi, who wasn’t part of the team last year, said her team deserved to win both matches this season.
“It feels good for all the girls ” to beat them twice by more than a goal both times, it feels real good,” Gerardi said. “We knew they were hungry, but we were ready.”
The win vaulted Truckee to 6-0-2 in the Northern 3A Sierra League and 14-0-3 overall. With the loss, Incline fell to 10-4-1 (2-4 league).
The Incline girls were visibly upset after the game, as many were crying and others heatedly discussing what they need to improve. When IHS coach John Paganelli was asked if the team wants to forget the loss and move on to the season finale Saturday at North Tahoe, he emphatically shook his head.
“Oh no. I have no intention of forgetting it,” Paganelli said. “You forget the wins; you never forget the losses because there’s always something to fix.”
Truckee took a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute, as sophomore Shannon Nicholls scored after a corner kick from freshman Kelsey Porter. The ball bounced around among both teams’ girls before Nicholls found the back of the net, beating sophomore goalkeeper Sarah Scott.
Incline tied the match in the 37th minute, as sophomore Lauren Grasinger fired a shot to the left past senior goalkeeper Michelle Plapp. The unassisted goal made it 1-1 at halftime.
After 15 minutes of back-and-forth action, Incline took the lead in the 55th minute. Grasinger ran down a through ball and wound up to shoot at the same time Plapp came out to defend. They collided, sending both girls tumbling to the ground, and the referee called a penalty shot.
Plapp left them game with a leg injury, forcing Gerardi to substitute sophomore Cammie Greenbach in at goal. After walking off a leg injury of her own, Grasinger booted the penalty shot past Greenbach, giving Incline a 2-1 lead.
A little more than 10 minutes later, the Wolverines began their barrage.
“Well, we haven’t been down very often this season, and today was the first major test of our defense all season,” Gerardi said. “But they were fired up, and I’m real proud of how they came back.”
Sophomore Stephanie O’Neil tied the match at 2-2 in the 66th minute after she knocked in a rebound off the cross bar from senior Lauren O’Neil.
Decker scored what would be the winning goal in the 71st minute, as she took a long through ball past three Incline defenders and knocked the ball to the right past Scott.
Two minutes later, junior Katie Dill knocked in a pass from junior Addie Shaffer, giving Truckee the 4-2 lead.
“This was a tough one,” said IHS assistant coach Mike Pennacchio after the game. “They were having just too much down at our end, and I think we just got tired. We have to get our girls in the right positions in the transitions.”
Truckee outshot the Lady Highlanders 19-14 in a game in which it completed more passes and won the possession battle.
“We just ran out of gas,” Paganelli said. “It was a good match, it was fair, the refs did their part. We just did not win the 50/50 balls. They outplayed us in the air.
“My team is not happy. Myself and Mike are not happy. We will correct it, and I hope we meet them again in zones.”
Truckee and North Tahoe, both the boys and girls, will compete in the NIAA 3A Northern Region soccer championship tournament on Nov. 1-3. The quarterfinals on Nov. 1 will be held at South Valleys Regional Sports Complex in Reno. Semifinals are Nov. 2 and finals Nov. 3 at Churchill County High School in Fallon. The championship game is scheduled for noon on Field 1. Check the Sierra Sun next week for more information.
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