Champions crowned Saturday at state soccer finals

PHOTOS COURTESY SOUTH DAKOTA PUBLIC BROADCASTING Tyrese Zacher, a midfielder for Brandon Valley winds up for a shot on goal during the girls’ Class “A” championship match Saturday afternoon. In the second photo, Sioux Falls Christian goal keeper Ben Weeldreyer tries in vain to stop a Tea Area penalty shot Saturday afternoon. Next, a pair of West Central players celebrate a goal during Saturday’s Class “A” girls’ state title game, as a Tea Area defender and goalie react. And next, Rapid City Stevens’ goal keeper Shawn Bauer climbs the ladder for a save against O’Gorman Saturday evening at Tiger Stadium.

HURON — The South Dakota high school soccer championships took place from Huron on Saturday as four teams were crowned state champions. For most of the day, the wind played a factor for all of the competitors.

“A” Girls

West Central 2, Tea Area 0
Both teams played with aggression through the first half of play, but neither could put up many shots on goal. At halftime, the match was scoreless.

West Central broke the 0-0 tie in the 18th minute of the second half when Rylee Haldeman found the back of the net on one of her shots. The Trojans added an insurance goal from Keighlor Nolz with under ten minutes to play, and they’d hold on to win 2-0.

“It’s always a good feeling. I’ve got to thank God for all the blessings that he’s given us and for everything that he’s done for our team, and all the great girls I’ve got on my team,” explained West Central head coach Greg Anderson. “They’ve worked really hard.”

Leading up to the championship game this week, five subs from West Central’s squad sustained injuries, meaning other players were going to have to step up for roster depth.

“It’s just our program. We’ve got a lot of talent that I’m grateful for, and it’s nice to be able to have somebody step in when something happens,” Anderson said.

This is the fourth state championship for West Central in the past five years. West Central and Tea Area have met a total of four times in the ‘A’ girls state title game with the Trojans winning three of them. The Lady Titans came into Saturday’s game as the defending state champs.

“A” Boys

Sioux Falls Christian 2, Tea Area 1 (Shootout)
For the third straight year, Sioux Falls Christian and Tea Area met to decide the state champion in ‘A’ boys soccer.

Just eight minutes into the game, the Chargers scored first on a goal from senior forward AJ Bauer. Tea Area would answer seven-and-a-half minutes later on a header from senior defender Tyler Duffy. It was deadlocked at 1-1 at halftime.

The second half saw a few close calls from both teams, but neither could edge out a lead in regulation play, which led to a shootout.

SFC didn’t miss during the shootout. A miss by Tea Area in the second frame put the match on the line at the top of the fifth set with the Titans badly needing a score to stay alive. Tea Area’s attempt sailed over the net, sealing the 2-1 victory for Sioux Falls Christian.

“My heart is still racing. You hate to go to [penalty kicks] in that situation, but proud of the guys for putting [shots] in. And I know Tea worked on it too. It’s a high-pressure situation. I’m just thankful that we made ours,” said Sioux Falls Christian head coach Kendall Velgersdyk.

This is the third state boys’ soccer championship for Sioux Falls Christian since the sport was sanctioned in 2012. It was the Chargers first state title since 2015.

 “AA” Girls

Brandon Valley 2, Sioux Falls Roosevelt 0
This was the first time that either Sioux Falls Roosevelt or Brandon Valley had reached the state soccer championship match since the sport was sanctioned. The Lynx found some rhythm in the first half with two goals – senior’s Kennedy Nuebel and Julia Kreutner both found the back of the net within the first 20-minutes of this match.

That score would hold until halftime. The Rough Riders had a few close calls for goals in the second half, but every attempt missed. Brandon Valley also didn’t add any points in the second half, which gave the Lynx a 2-0 state title win.

“It’s just awesome to see the girls accomplish together that they’ve set out to do for a few years now, especially this group of seniors. Their freshman year they lost in the semifinals and just to get back to the point where they could get back to a point where they could compete for a championship, that was the goal this year,” explained Lynx head coach Jacob Shoup. “And to see them do it is pretty sweet, so super proud of them.”

Brandon Valley came into the championship game as the No. 4 seed in the ‘AA’ class, while Sioux Falls Roosevelt was listed at No. 7.

Since mid-September, Brandon Valley has been arguably the best team in the state on paper. They haven’t allowed a score since Sept. 15, which includes both the regular season and post-season play.

This is the first state championship for the Brandon Valley girls soccer program.

“AA” Boys

O’Gorman 2, Rapid City Stevens 1
The ‘AA’ boys’ championship had that David vs Goliath feel as Stevens came into the match undefeated on the year — but O’Gorman was riding the momentum train. The Raiders scored in the thirteenth minute of the match, courtesy of Zach Williams, who gave Stevens a 1-0 lead.

Wesley Zimprich of O’Gorman tied the match at 1-1 in the final minute of the first half, which gave the Knights a little momentum at the midway point.

O’Gorman snagged the lead 2-1 roughly halfway through the second half on a goal from Patryk Stys, and they held on to take down the No. 1 ranked team in the state, Rapid City Stevens.

“This has kind of been the story of our year. We get down a little bit and then we come back, and we always respond,” explained O’Gorman head coach Ryan Beier. “Even in our playoffs, the other team might score, we always come back and get an answer for it. Our guys, they love each other, and I love them, and this is the culmination of a great finishing touch to our season.”

This is the first state soccer championship for the O’Gorman Knights boys’ soccer team.

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PHOTOS COURTESY SOUTH DAKOTA PUBLIC BROADCASTING Tyrese Zacher, a midfielder for Brandon Valley winds up for a shot on goal during the girls’ Class “A” championship match Saturday afternoon. In the second photo, Sioux Falls Christian goal keeper Ben Weeldreyer tries in vain to stop a Tea Area penalty shot Saturday afternoon. Next, a pair of West Central players celebrate a goal during Saturday’s Class “A” girls’ state title game, as a Tea Area defender and goalie react. And next, Rapid City Stevens’ goal keeper Shawn Bauer climbs the ladder for a save against O’Gorman Saturday evening at Tiger Stadium.


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