Truckee girls soccer team eyes state title |

Truckee girls soccer team eyes state title

Jason Kelley/Sierra SunTruckee High senior Nicole Oxandaboure works on her game Tuesday at practice.

Reflecting upon what could have been the past few seasons evokes bitter memories and feelings of redemption as far as the Truckee High girls soccer team is concerned.

“We always come up a little short. It just makes us want to work a little bit harder,” said Mimi Precit, a senior and fourth-year varsity player.

Most recently, Incline eliminated the Wolverines 1-0 in the 3A state semifinal match last November.

“We’re still hurting from that one,” Truckee head coach Amy Valdivia said, “especially since the boys won it all.”

That 2005 team finished with a record of 15-4-3 overall and 6-1-1 in league for a share of the Tahoe League title.

But that wasn’t enough.

Owners of five greater Nevada records and sharers of another two, anything less than a state championship equates to a disappointing season for the Wolverines, who last earned the honor in 2002.

For Valdivia and company, a return to prominence is No. 1 on the priority list.

“Winning state. That’s it,” Valdivia said of her team’s goal entering the season. “That’s our big thing. We want to win state. We’ve had the potential for the last few years. We’ve been a strong team that hasn’t come through in the end.”

Judging by the program’s success over the past decade, the high expectations are understandable.

Consider: Truckee is tied with rival North Tahoe for most state titles (5) and most consecutive titles (3, 1996-1998).

The Wolverines stand alone in the state record book for most undefeated seasons (3, from 1996-1998); most consecutive games won (50, from 1996-1998); most goals scored in a season (207, in 1998); most goals scored in a game (24, in 1998); and most shutouts in a season (18, in 1998).

But while Truckee last won back-to-back state titles in 2001 and 2002, North Tahoe has taken state the last three years.

Then there’s Incline, which the Wolverines have learned by way of postseason elimination the last two years not overlook.

In 2003, it was the Lakers who dashed the Wolverines’ hopes for a sixth title with a 6-5 victory obtained in a shootout after a double-overtime period.

It’s not surprising, then, that senior forward Sara Grossman considers the Highlanders and Lakers the teams to beat again this season.

“Incline and North Tahoe, like always,” Grossman said when asked. “But if I had to pick one of them, it would be North Tahoe. We’re not letting them get a four-peat.”

Precit thinks the Highlanders will be the biggest road block on the route to state.

“Personally, for me, I’m always just as nervous before Incline as North Tahoe. It’s kind of a three-way struggle (between Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline).”

Last season the Wolverines beat the Lakers twice and tied with their rival once. Against the Highlanders the Wolverines were 1-1-1.

In addition to the usual talent stacked in the Wolverines’ favor ” and despite losing eight seniors from last year’s team ” optimism is on Truckee’s side.

“We have a lot of new young players who I think will be good additions to our team,” Grossman said. “We lost a lot of seniors, but I think we gained some really good new players …

“We’re working hard. Everybody has the skill and stuff, but everybody has been out here running sprints and working really hard to get in shape. I think if we keep it up it’s gonna really help our skill in the long run.”

Senior Nikki Panziera thinks camaraderie is a strength, as well as the fact that the team again has a strong core of returning seniors.

“We all get along together and we can all play together,” Panziera said.

And about the seniors: “I think all the seniors are pretty much team leaders. We all have our strengths and weaknesses that we can combine together.”

The Wolverines receive their first test today in the Galena Tournament. Last year they made it as far as the semifinal game before losing to South Tahoe. North Tahoe was the eventual winner of the tournament.

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