Three-peat state champs
South Tahoe 3 0 — 3
Truckee 2 2 — 4
First Half — 1, South Tahoe, M. Befu (De Loia), 5th minute. 2, South Tahoe, McGuire (penalty kick), 10th minute. 3, Truckee, Simonpietri (penalty kick), 15th minute. 4, South Tahoe, McGuire (De Loia), 20th minute. 5, Truckee, Villa.
Second Half — 6, Truckee, Seelenfreund, 57th minute. 7, Truckee, Seelenfreund (penalty kick) 70th minute.
The Truckee and South Tahoe girls’ soccer teams have battled for supremacy all season long, splitting a pair of regular season matchups, followed by the Vikings taking a 2-1 victory in the Northern League championship.
The teams went on to dispatch their Southern League counterparts to matchup in the finals of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A state tournament last Saturday in Las Vegas, and when it mattered most, Truckee’s star players found a way late in the game to propel the team to a 4-3 victory and a third consecutive state title.
The Vikings took control early on with two goals in the first 10 minutes, scoring on a deep shot, and then off a penalty kick from senior Lillie McGuire.
“We had all the confidence in the world at that point,” said South Tahoe Head Coach Mark Salmon. “We were off to a good roll. But, unfortunately, from that point on Ava (Seelenfreund) did what she does.”
Seelenfreund, one of the state’s top players during her four years at Truckee, drew a penalty kick after being taken down hard in the box 15 minutes into the game. Senior Amber Simonpietri stepped in and converted the penalty kick to make the score 2-1. Simonpietri found the back of the net four times during the postseason, including twice in the state tournament. She finished the year second on the team with 17 goals.
Shortly after Truckee’s goal, McGuire struck for the second time, scoring on a deep shot from a difficult angle to again give the Vikings a two-goal edge.
“Who gets three goals in the first half against Truckee, much less in the first 20 minutes,” Salmon said.
Truckee junior Alondra Villa would cut the lead to 3-2, scoring late in the first half. Villa’s 17 goals this season was tied with sophomore Taya Matt for third most on the team.
The scored remained the same until midway through the second half when Seelenfreund beat a trio of defenders to even the game at 3-3. The Wolverines’ leading scorer then drew another penalty kick with 10 minutes left in the match and converted the shot for the game-winner.
“We didn’t bottle up Ava and she was dangerous the entire second half,” Salmon said. “We had five clear chances in the first half and without her, this could have been a 4-0 drubbing. It’s like the soccer gods wanted to reward her for an awesome career. She’s just a great player.”
Seelenfreund’s heroics in a state championship match are nothing new to the Vikings. She scored a pair of goals in last year’s state title game, leading Truckee to a 2-0 win against South Tahoe.
Seelenfreund also assisted on a goal in each of the two state tournament games and had a three-goal performance in the semifinals against Pahrump Valley.
As the focus of opposing defenses all season long, Seelenfreund, who verbally committed to Brown University last season, scored a team-high 33 goals and 13 assists in 21 Class 3A appearances this season.
She finishes her career at Truckee with more than 120 goals, which is in the top five for most ever by a girl in state history, regardless of class.
Truckee freshman goalie Jessica Kaufman picked up the win in the finals, and made four saves during the contest. She finished the year with shutouts in four of the final six games.
Senior Isa Gonzalez was fourth on the team with six goals and second on the team with 11 assists.
The state championship is Truckee’s third straight and adds to a state record 11 overall titles, regardless of class. The three-peat is the third time Truckee has accomplished the feat in girls’ soccer. Class 4A Arbor View owns the state record with five straight championships.
The Wolverines will graduate seven players off this year’s squad, including: Seelenfreund, Simonpietri, Gonzalez, Tatiana Klenk, Megan Flynn, Noelle Seppi, and Daphne Lezo.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.