Girls soccer beats North Tahoe in final game |

Girls soccer beats North Tahoe in final game

Photo by Court Leve/Sun News ServiceTruckee's Bre Wright and North Tahoe's Lindy Buffington battle for possession of the ball during Tuesday's game in Tahoe City.

The Truckee High varsity girls soccer team won a hard-fought and physical game 3-2 against rival North Tahoe Tuesday in the final game of the regular season.

“We played well, and with a lot of heart,” said Truckee head coach Amy Valdivia. “It was a good game.”

Truckee found the net first about 23 minutes into the contest when Whitney Hardy received, controlled and kicked in a nicely placed corner kick from Melissa Kleffman. The game went back and forth on the soggy North Tahoe field the rest of the first half, with neither team scoring.

The Lakers came out in the second half and picked up two goals ” one on a penalty shot ” to take a 2-1 lead. With 24 minutes remaining the Wolverines struck again on a goal by Sara Grossman to even the score at 3.

With the game tied, players on both sides battled relentlessly, putting shoulders into their opponents, getting down on tackles and refusing to give an inch. North Tahoe goalie, Joelle Lazzareschi, with about 18 minutes to play scooped up the ball in the corner of the penalty area and punted it about 35 yards out to Kleffman, who then booted the ball over a diving Lazzareschi’s head and under the crossbar by mere inches.

For a good part of the next 15 minutes the Lakers put pressure on a stubborn Truckee defense, often threatening to score but ultimately unable to break through the back line. The game ended with the 3-2 lead intact, improving the Wolverines’ league record to 6-1-1.

But come playoffs ” which start Nov. 3 at South Valleys Regional Sports Complex in Reno ” regular-season records have no bearing.

“When playoffs come around you can throw all that out the window,” Valdivia said of team’s win-loss records.

That’s because the divisional tournament is single-elimination. And with the Wolverines, Lakers and Incline Highlanders all securing playoff births, anything can happen.

“I think it’s going to come down to us, North Tahoe and Incline,” said Valdivia, who noted that teams from northern Nevada traditionally are stronger than those from the south. “It’s really going to be a battle.”

Last year the Wolverines were eliminated in the second game of the divisional tournament by the Highlanders, whom Truckee split two games with this season.

“With us, we’ve got all the physical tools in place,” Valdivia said of her team. “It’s the mental part of the game (that has been a weakness). But we’ve really improved. If we keep that up I think we have a very good shot (at a state title).”

Alex Close contributed to this story.

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