ELKO – A win is a win, a loss is a loss.
But playing the defending state champions to a one-goal soccer game is a positive sign.
The Elko girls soccer team – after a poor start – gave the Lady Wolverines of Truckee all they wanted and then some on Saturday at Adobe Middle School.
Truckee won the contest 3-2, but the game played out a tale of different portions.
The Lady Wolverines, most notably junior forward Ava Seelenfreund, went gangbusters in the first half, early in the first half.
Seelenfreund, who has notched hat tricks on the Lady Indians before, pumped home three goals in the first 17:30 of Saturday’s contest – scoring in a variety of ways.
The 1st-Team All-State striker first struck at the 1:55 mark, gaining possession of the ball near midfield and dribbling through the entire Elko defense, finishing a one-on-one battle outside the frame.
She gave Truckee a 2-0 lead at the 8:55 mark on a cross with what Elko coach Michelle Nicholls called a “really nice header.”
Seelenfreund capped her personal scoring spree and Truckee’s offensive success at 17:30, tallying her hat-trick goal after a jumbled play in the middle.
The Lady Indians did not clear a ball from the heart of the pitch and she poked a shot into the net.
Truckee threatened to turn the game into a laugher, but Elko settled in defensively and kept the deficit at 3-0 until halftime.
“The girls played a very good second half,” Nicholls said.
Elko’s offensive charge turned into a score just nine minutes into the second half.
Short, sweet passes and ball movement allowed sophomore Kaitlyn Walton to pull the Lady Indians to within two at 3-1.
Walton received a cross from junior Brenna Hendrix and “one-touched” the ball into the goal.
The early blowout became even more intriguing eight minutes later.
Hendrix sent another cross to Walton, who fired an attempt at the frame, but the goalkeeper made an initial stop.
The ball deflected back and junior Savanna Carr was there to clean up the mess.
Carr beat the Truckee goalkeeper with a move to the left and “turned the rebound into a great finish,” according to Nicholls.
The Lady Indians sliced the lead to one at 3-2 and threatened to do more damage.
“We had some other chances to tie or win the game,” Nicholls said. “Dariahn (Primeaux) sent some beautiful balls on corner kicks that dropped in, but we didn’t have anyone there to finish at the opposite post.”
Another potential game-tying goal came on an empty net.
The Truckee goalie advanced forward and was beaten but Elko’s kick sailed wide.
The Lady Wolverines survived Elko’s rally and hung on for a 3-2 victory.
Elko limited Truckee to 15 shots, the Lady Indians taking 11 attempts of their own.
Senior goalkeeper Lauryn Drake came up with 11 saves for Elko.
“In the second half, we had way better communication and the girls got back to the short passing game we have been preaching,” Nicholls said. “But we have to understand that we need that type of effort for 80 minutes, not 40. This week, we will continue to work on our short passes and finishing. We have got to finish our opportunities if we want to win.”
Elko fell to 4-6 in league play of the Division 3A North, while Truckee improved to 9-0-1.
The Lady Indians will host North Tahoe at 2 p.m. Friday at Adobe Middle, wrapping up the home stand against Incline at 10 a.m. Saturday – going with earlier starts due to the fact the Elko boys will also be at home.