Girls advance to semifinals
Huddled with his team before Saturday’s game against the Whittell Warriors, Tahoe-Truckee Head Coach Larry Young pulled out a magazine photo of a shouting athlete sweating Gatorade and showed it to the Wolverines.
It was a picture showing intensity.
Truckee battled to a 4-1 victory over the Warriors and advanced to the semi-final round of the NIAA/U.S. Bank 3A State Soccer Playoffs at Surprise Stadium. The victory, however, came in spite of a lackadaisical start.
“We came out tentative,” Truckee Head Coach Larry Young said. “We were waiting to see what Whittell was going to do rather than going for the ball. We were slow … we couldn’t get going. We looked like we did earlier in the season when all our goals were coming in the second half.”
Kristine Bena, who was alternately subbed for Rebecca Shook – whose knees were bothering her – and Megan Martin, provided a substantial spark. Bena scored a hat trick and assisted Truckee’s other goal.
Truckee’s only goal in the first half was scored by Bena off an assist from Martin 16 minutes into the game.
Whittell’s Corky Novotony took advantage of a loose ball bouncing around the goal following a corner kick and scored nine minutes later.
At halftime, the game was tied 1-1.
Bena, with an assist from Megan Minnick, scored Truckee’s second goal 10 minutes into the second half.
The Wolverines gained momentum and easily maintained the 2-1 lead, keeping the ball on their side of the field. With a minute remaining in the game, Bena passed the ball in front of the net to Shook, who kicked the ball through for Truckee’s third score.
The Wolverines regained possession. Julie Rueckheim had a shot bounce off the corner and drop in front of the goal where a waiting Bena scored the game’s final point.
“Kirsten Seitz (a sophomore) and Megan Minnick (a junior) really kept us in the game in the first half,” Young said. “Natalie Pratt (a sophomore) and Bena (a sophomore) came in and played well. They lit up the second half. They played with good intensity … good combination play with Jill Marchi. We’ve got a really good group of young players on this team.”
The Wolverines finished the game with 24 shots on goal, while the Warriors only had five. Leilani Mullen had six saves.
The Wolverines will travel tomorrow to Spring Creek where they will face the Boulder City Eagles, starting at 2:30 p.m.
If the Wolverines win, they will play again on Saturday in the state championship. Truckee will face the winner of the game between North Tahoe and Incline.
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The Truckee boys’ soccer team shutout its third straight opponent on Saturday, taking a 5-0 win at home against Dayton.