Lady Wolverines perfect to open season
The most decorated soccer program in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association is once again dominating on the pitch.
The three-time defending state champion Truckee girls’ soccer team hasn’t allowed a goal in four league games to open the season, outscoring their Northern League counterparts 18-0.
“We’ve had a few competitive games with the big Southern (Nevada) schools at a preseason tournament, and we gave up a few there,” said Coach Kevin Nichols. “But since then, we haven’t really given up many chances.”
Sophomore keeper Jessica Kaufman and the defenders in front of her have been perfect since beginning play in the Northern League, including a pair shutouts last weekend against Churchill County and Lowry.
The Greenwave made the trip to Truckee for a Friday afternoon matchup, and were topped 5-0 by the Wolverines. Truckee then ran away from Lowry the following day, taking a 9-0 victory against the Buckaroos.
Continuing a dynasty
After graduating a deep class of seniors that led Truckee to three straight state championships, the team has had to adjust to playing without its top scorers from a season ago, Ava Seelenfreund and Amber Simonpietri. Last season the two accounted for nearly half of Truckee’s goals.
“We definitely lost some big players last year, no doubt about that,” said Nichols. “But we did have a pretty full roster also … and we’ve had a pretty good incoming sophomore class and we picked up a freshman.”
Going into this season, Nichols said one of Truckee’s biggest strengths is depth, which has created a competitive atmosphere within club as players jostle for playing time.
“We have depth at every position on the field, and that helps to keep the team motivated at practice, just knowing that at each spot there’s competition at positions,” said Nichols. “It helps keep practice intense. It’s been a really good, competitive atmosphere so far this season.”
Through four games this season, the team has done well in spreading the ball around with goals coming from 12 different players. Junior Sophia Sullivan leads the way with three goals. Senior Sami Orozco, junior Taya Matt, freshman Jimena Elizarraraz, and sophomore Kailea Kelly have each scored twice. Junior Carly Davis leads Truckee with three assists.
“We’ve just got a really strong deep group of players, and really, on any given day it could be a number of players stepping up,” said Nichols.
Stylistically, Nichols said the Wolverines will continue to be possession oriented, but will look to move the ball and opposing defenses around more than in past seasons when the program could rely on the speed and athleticism of Seelenfreund to create offense.
“The overall work rate as a team,” said Nichols on the strength of this year’s squad. “Working together, and working for each other has been what’s made us really tough to compete with, and just being really strong through the middle helps us control games.”
Rivalry games on tap
Truckee’s next two games will be against rivals from around Lake Tahoe.
The Wolverines (4-3, 4-0 Northern League) will host North Tahoe (2-4-1, 2-2-1 Northern League) on Saturday at noon. The team will then head across the lake on Wednesday for a 5 p.m. matchup against South Tahoe (4-2-1, 3-0-1 Northern League). The two programs have played each other in the past two state championships games.
“You never want to focus too much on one team,” said Nichols on facing the Vikings. “You want to give each team their respect, but the past few seasons its come through us and South Tahoe. I know that’s always a big one on everyone’s schedule.”
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com.