Lady Wolverines reach soccer state championship match
The defending state champion Truckee girls’ soccer team will return to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 3A soccer state championship game, after a 2-1 overtime victory in the semifinal match over Pahrump on Friday, Nov. 10.
The Wolverines controlled much of the game early on and created several great opportunities at goal, but failed to find the back of the net in a scoreless first half.
“We controlled the field well and put ourselves in some good opportunities to score,” said Head Coach Kyle Kelly. “But unfortunately, their keeper came up with a few really good saves, and there were a few others where we made them look good or just missed.”
In the 73rd minute the Wolverines’ persistence finally paid off when junior Tatiana Kienk slid a ball past Pahrump’s keeper along the left end line to junior teammate Isa Gonzalez, who then tapped in the afternoon’s first goal.
“When they crossed the ball, I was just hesitating,” said Gonzalez. “and it just happened.”
Pahrump’s Grace Gundaker then beat the Truckee defense in the 78th minute to score the equalizer on a one-on-one opportunity against Truckee senior keep Izzy Abarno.
The team’s then went to two, 15-minute overtime periods, where the game would be decided on whoever scored first.
Through the first 15 minutes the Wolverines got the better opportunities at goal, but neither team was able to find the game winner.
During the course of the contest Truckee’s leading scorer, junior Ava Seelenfreund, struggled to find the mark, with two shots ricocheting off the side of the goal, and several others just missing, as the Trojans defense did their best to stop the Wolverines star player.
“I do hear a lot of players on the other team say, ‘Mark 11, mark 11,’ so, I’m definitely honored that they know about me, but it’s tough because the competition is great and it’s hard when everyone is targeting you,” Seelenfreund said.
After being marked most of the afternoon, knocked around, and bloodied, Seelenfreund lifted a high cross off her right foot along the right end line, which found the top corner of the left side of the goal for the game-ending shot with 9:36 left in the second overtime.
“It was pretty lucky, a break from the soccer gods,” Seelenfreund 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.”
Seelenfreund, a verbal commit to Brown University, has scored a team-high 48 goals during this year’s league and postseason games.
Truckee will now face South Tahoe, who also won in overtime, in the state championship game at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at Spanish Springs High School in Sparks, Nev.
“We need to come to play again,” said Seelenfreund. “We’ve beat them a couple of times … if we come to play, we can do it again.”
Truckee is 2-0-1 against South Tahoe this year, and defeated the Vikings 4-0 on Nov. 4, to capture the Northern League championship.