Lady Wolverines beat South Tahoe for back-to-back state soccer titles
When Truckee junior Ava Seelenfreund’s cross from the right end line found the top corner of the goal for the game winner during the second overtime against Pahrump Valley in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A Girls Soccer Championships semifinal round, she froze in place, raised her arms in a V, and stared skyward, seemingly relieved the Wolverines had escaped and the end had come to a frustrating 100 minutes of soccer.
“It was pretty lucky, a break from the soccer gods,” Seelenfreund, who’s Truckee’s leading scorer, said. “It was a super lucky break. I don’t know how it curved in … we got a lot of chances and just couldn’t finish, but that one came, thankfully.”
Shortly after Seelenfreund, who had been beat up, knocked down, and bloodied during the contest against the Trojans on Friday, Nov 10, was mobbed by teammates as the Wolverines celebrated the 2-1 victory.
Junior Isa Gonzalez scored Truckee’s other goal in the game off an assist from Junior Tatiana Klenk in the 73rd minute.
The Wolverines then went on to face rivals South Tahoe at Spanish Springs High School the following morning, as the team sought to cap off an undefeated run through league and postseason play by capturing the program’s second straight state title. Truckee came into the contest 2-0-1 against South Tahoe in games earlier in the year.
The Vikings (16-7-1, 12-3-1 Northern League) controlled the early part of the game against the Wolverines (20-4-1, 15-0-1 Northern League), but in the 19th minute, Seelenfreund got the ball deep in South Tahoe territory, and then beat two defenders with some nifty footwork, before putting a shot past the Vikings keeper for a 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same until just over midway through the second half when senior captain Olivia Vigano took a corner kick from the right side of the field, which Seelenfreund perfectly timed for a header that bounced off the grass and past the Vikings goalie for a 2-0 lead. Vigano led Truckee on the year with 13 assists.
Seelenfreund had seemed to press at times while being constantly marked by Pahrump the day before, but against South Tahoe she allowed the game to come to her, picking the right time to strike.
“Just being patient, waiting for the opportunities to come and when they did I finished them,” she said.
Seelenfreund would nearly score twice more in the final minutes of the game, each time tapping the ball ahead, and then using her speed to burst past the defense for a good look at goal.
Truckee’s defense kept South Tahoe at bay over the remaining minutes, sealing the 2-0 win and back-to-back state championships.
“Keeping the shutout is massive for us and our center backs are a massive part of that,” said Head Coach Kyle Kelly. “There’s not a lot of people that can beat them in a one-on-one situation, let alone in a foot race if we get beat on through ball.”
That defensive effort made for a pretty uneventful two outings for senior keeper Izzy Abarno, who was beat just once during the two state playoff games.
“It’s really awesome. We worked really hard all season for this win,” Abarno said. “Just being undefeated and working so hard at practice, it’s really rewarding to get this win — especially against South Tahoe. I’m really glad I got to end on a good note.”
The state championship caps off a sensational run by the Wolverines, that saw the team go 19-0-1 since a loss to Class 4A Faith Lutheran on Aug. 26.
Seelenfreund, who is a verbal commit to Brown University, finished the season with 50 goals through 16 league and five playoff games. Seelenfreund said she’ll next play club ball for Nevada United, out of Reno.
Junior Amber Simonpietri was next on the team with nine goals, followed by Gonzalez with seven.
Truckee will graduate seven seniors from the roster: Vigano, Abarno, Olivia Koster, team captain Sophie Curtis, Ava Stokes, Bridgette Abel, and Danielle Dolan.
“For half the team, they were a part of it last year … and this year, the other half that are coming in that are brand new this year. I think it’s massive for them because they’ve seen it over the last few years, just us winning, but not actually being a part of it, and now they had to learn how to do it,” Kelly said.
“The six or seven seniors that are leaving helped show them the way — that it’s not given to us, that you have to work for it.”
Staff writer Justin Scacco can be reached at 530-550-2643 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org