South Tahoe girls rally to beat rival Truckee for Northern Nevada soccer championship
South Tahoe freshman Anjelina Maltase made one last clearance to thwart Truckee pressure and the whistle blew.
The Vikings let out a collective scream and players from the sideline raced to celebrate while the Wolverines were left feeling the same disappointment South Tahoe has felt for the last two years.
Kelsey Hogan and Giovana De Loia scored lightning quick goals 3 minutes apart Saturday to rally South Tahoe past Truckee 2-1 for the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association 3A Northern Region championship.
The Wolverines were the defending two-time northern regional champions for the last two years and also the state title winner last season, all at the expense of the Vikings.
Hogan said beating Truckee made holding the championship plaque at Vikings Stadium in front of a mostly home crowd that much better.
“Oh yeah, it’s much sweeter beating Truckee for the title for sure,” Hogan said. “They are our rivals.”
The No. 2 seed Wolverines had the top seed Vikings on the run for much of the first half and owned the better scoring opportunities.
Every time Truckee senior star forward Ava Seelenfreund touched the ball she looked like she could score.
Vikings goalkeeper Phoebe Barkann made an outstanding close-range save where she punched away a smashed shot from close range.
The Wolverines broke through with about 15 minutes left in the first half and Barkann had no chance to make a save.
Truckee’s Emily Monson lined up a free kick from about 35 yards and sent a missile over South Tahoe’s wall of players and into the top left corner of the net, passed a diving Barkann.
The shot was driven so hard the net looked like it would pull the goal backward, or the ball would tear through the twine.
Monson put her head in her hands while her team mobbed her.
“Emily hit just a great shot,” said Vikings head coach Mark Salmon. “Phoebe had no chance at that one. She hit it hard right over our wall, textbook.”
The Wolverines sideline and modest fan base, likely due to the football team playing a home playoff game at the same time, erupted.
Truckee took that 1-0 lead into halftime.
During the break, South Tahoe never lost confidence or felt that they might lose.
“We felt we were dominating them in the first half and it was just a matter of time,” Hogan said.
“We had most of the run of play, they had some chances, but we felt confident we were going to come back,” Salmon said.
And come back they did.
They stormed back behind their two super sophomores who scored two lightning quick goals a few minutes apart starting just 5 minutes into the second half.
Hogan held possession near the sideline at about midfield. She looked up and saw De Loia breaking.
“Gio and I know what each other are going to do when we make eye contact,” Hogan said.
“Kelsey and I just have this thing where we can just look at each other and know what we’re going to do,” De Loia said.
Hogan lofted a lead pass about 20 yards downfield that hit De Loia in stride. De Loia’s first touch put her past the defender and one-on-one with the Truckee keeper who was closing the gap.
“We’ve been working on this in practice,” De Loia said. “I saw her come out a little bit and just lined it up and hit it past her.”
A few moments later it was Hogan’s turn. The forward gained possession with space on the wing behind the defense and drove into the box.
She blasted a shot into the net just inside the far, right, post. The Vikings and the large home crowd exploded.
“They are super sophomores,” Salmon said. “Who else but Gio and Kelsey were going to score like that and win the game?”
The goal came seconds after Truckee felt Seelenfreund was fouled hard in the Vikings zone and didn’t get a whistle.
The Vikings held off consistent pressure from the Wolverines in the final six minutes for the victory.
Following the game, the Vikings were awarded the trophy and celebrated by dancing and singing around it in front of their fans while listening to Queen’s “We are the Champions” over the sound system.
The Vikings will be the top seed from the north and will play the No. 2 seed from the south, Western. The game will be played at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Bettye Wilson Park in Las Vegas.