Truckee soccer: Girls send seniors out on winning note with third-straight state title | SierraSun.com

Truckee soccer: Girls send seniors out on winning note with third-straight state title

Keith Sheffield/Sierra SunTruckee senior Stephanie O'Neil blasts a kick ahead of a charging Spring Creek defender during the Wolverines' 2-0 state championship win Saturday.
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RENO, Nev. and#8212; For a few minutes at the start of Saturday’s state title soccer match, it was Spring Creek’s offensive prowess that had Truckee on its heels.

By the fifth minute, things were back to normal.

Led by goals from Stephanie O’Neil and Kennedy Power, the Truckee girls soccer team overcame a sluggish start to dominate possession en route to a 2-0 win over Spring Creek on Saturday at Damonte Ranch High School, sending its seniors off in style by securing the school’s third-consecutive Nevada 3A soccer title.

So how does it feel to win three straight state titles and finish the 2009 season with a perfect 19-0 league record?

and#8220;I’ll let you know when I catch my breath,and#8221; said a grinning O’Neil after the game. and#8220;For me alone, it’s great (to score the goal), but we all won this together. It’s been a great run.and#8221;

After missing on a couple opportunities in the first half and#8212; including a header off the cross bar and#8212; O’Neil, a senior and three-year varsity starter, put Truckee ahead 1-0 after gaining control of the ball in the box and knocking it past the Spring Creek goalkeeper.

The goal came after Spring Creek had a few scoring chances in the half, including a breakaway chance in the game’s second minute. The Spartans couldn’t capitalize, however, and Truckee’s ball-control offense quickly took over.

and#8220;It was scary there for a few minutes, but we calmed down,and#8221; O’Neil said.

Truckee dominated possession in the second half, yielding just one shot to Spring Creek. Power put Truckee ahead 2-0 on an unassisted goal after a corner kick in the 58th minute.

Crisp passing, ball control and strong midfield play has been the theme this year, said Truckee head coach Amy Valdivia.

and#8220;That’s the way we have been playing all season, so it’s nice to see it end on that note,and#8221; she said.

About 100 Truckee fans made the trip down the hill to see the game and#8212; and the end of an era, with a trio of seniors making their final appearance for the Wolverines in O’Neil, Shannon Nicholls and Katy Stephens.

and#8220;We definitely deserved it,and#8221; said junior Kelsi Decker, who led much of Truckee’s offensive attack on Saturday. and#8220;Our team has played together for so long and#8212; forever it seems. It’s awesome.and#8221;

Valdivia said she created a special bond with the team and its seniors, who haven’t lost in the state tournament since 2006 and#8212; a state title loss to Incline.

and#8220;It’s been an amazing season,and#8221; Valdivia said. and#8220;I’m sad to see it come to an end.and#8221;

The state championship was Truckee’s Nevada-record eighth ever. The next-highest total is five, earned by rival North Tahoe.