For years the Fallon girls soccer team has been on the outside looking in.
But today, the Lady Wave has the opportunity to crash the state party for the first time in school history. Fallon, the third seed, battles second-seeded Truckee at 2 p.m. in the semifinals of the Northern Division I-A tournament at the Edward Arciniega Complex.
In the other semifinal, league champ South Tahoe faces No. 4 seed Elko at noon. The winners qualify for next week’s state tournament in Dayton.
“I think the biggest thing we have to do is score, our defense will be there,” Fallon coach Kelly Spicer said. “We have to get our through balls through. Our intensity has to be there the first 10 minutes of the game.”
Leading the way for the Lady Wave, though, are seniors Maddie Alegre (16 goals, eight assists), Monica Mills (12 goals, seven assists) and Becca Mills (10 goals, five assists).
Mixing it up in the midfield and backline are Kailey Davis, Sam Burton and goalkeeper Erin Nelson (16 goals allowed, 130 saves).
As for Truckee, the Wolverines are anchored up front by Marcelle Reynaud (15 goals, eight assists), Kaylee Neill (16 goals, six assists) and speedster Quinn Parker (five goals, eight assists).
The Wolverines are riding a seven-game winning streak including wins over Fallon and South Tahoe, and have outscored their opponents 35-3.
Fallon, meanwhile, has gone 5-2 in the same stretch with losses coming at the feet of Elko and Truckee.
“We’ve been working on first touches and quick shots,” Spicer said.
Two of the past three years the Lady Wave has been within one match of the state tournament. Before the southern realignment last year, Fallon was eliminated in the third-place match to end its season.
Alegre, a three-year varsity veteran, said this year’s team chemistry has been an anchor for the club’s success.
“There’s a lot less tension on the field,” she said. “I feel like if we work really hard we will be able to beat (Truckee).”
One issue for Fallon, though, has been the lack of offensive power against the Wolverines. In two matches, the Lady Wave has not scored, although the defense has been solid.
Monday’s match, meanwhile, did not feature the full club, Spicer said, as the second-year coach rested numerous players suffering from nagging injuries.
Nevertheless, scoring is an obvious must for Fallon to clinch a state berth and even win the regional title.
“We’re going to be looking for short diagonal balls through their defense or sending wing players wide and looking for a cross,” Alegre said.
Despite a deep senior presence, the Lady Wave is loaded with nine sophomores who have matured throughout the season. But playoff soccer becomes faster and more physical and intense than the regular season.
Truckee presents a physical challenge with experience, but Burton said the club must be ready.
“We have to step it up on Friday so we can be prepared for anything,” she added.
Boys tangle in regional
In the Northern Division I-A boys regional tournament, No. 1 Truckee takes on No. 4 Elko at noon on Friday, while No. 2 Sparks tangles with No. 3 South Tahoe at 2 p.m.
Thursday’s matches in the South featured Chaparral against SECTA and Desert Pines battled Sunrise Mountain. Results were not available at press time.