HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO)- The Class “A” State Soccer championships featured the same four teams from a year ago, as the Tea Area Boys squared off with Sioux Falls Christian, and on the girls side, West Central and Tea Area crossed paths.
It was the third time in the last four years the Tea Area and West Central girls clashed for the state title, with the Trojans the prevailing the two previous times. West Central also entered Saturday’s contest as the three-time defending state champs.
“We really wanted to play them from the start cause we just wanted our redemption back. After they’ve won three years in a row, we thought we’d take their four-peat I guess,” Aspyn Thomassen said.
The game remained scoreless until the 39th minute, when Tea Area senior Desirae Patzwald fired a shot from just outside the box and tucked it inside the near post for the game’s first goal.
“There’s nobody around me, and I was just thinking, first thing is shoot. My coaches always tell me to shoot, but I like to pass and I decided to do what they told me, and it worked out,” Senior Desirae Patzwald said.
Tea Area would add another goal in the 55th minute off a corner kick, and then keeper Josie Ketelhut would preserve the clean sheet for the 2-0 victory. After finishing runner-up in three of the last four years, the Tea Area girls were finally state champions.
“You know those banners in the gym are awesome. I love them because we worked so hard for them. But we were missing one, and we’re not anymore,” Tea Area Girls Head Coach Mark Anderson said.
On the boys side, Tea Area sought its third straight state title, but needed to get past top-seeded Sioux Falls Christian. Prior to the match, the Titans made a tactical change to counter the potent Charger offense.
“We’ve played a 3-5-2 the whole year. For this game, we decided to go with a 5-4-1. Basically try to contain their high explosive offense, because they score a lot of goals, and they score in bunches. We just wanted to clog up the side and the middle, and see what they can get out of that,” Tea Area Head Coach Zach Jurgens said.
The plan worked perfectly, as the game headed to overtime scoreless. Then in the second OT, the Titans capitalized on a chance, as sophomore Alex Pies was able to find the back of the net.
“So I saw one of my teammates gave me a great ball in the back. Had a little rough bounce to it, but I knew I had to hit it. So I took the shot, and luckily it bounced off the defender and gave me a good goal,” Alex Pies said.
“We told the guys, if you get a chance, you get 1-2 seconds in the middle of the field, or on the top of the box, take the shot. You know a deflection, we’ll take a corner, or a throw-in, even if they’re long throws. Fortunately, this one found the back of the net,” Jurgens said.
Tea Area would prevail 1-0 over Sioux Falls Christian, sealing the program’s third consecutive state title.
“That means a lot. This year was hard. Last year we had a lot of people on the team, we lost a lot of seniors. Then we really pulled through this year. Sioux Falls Christian didn’t make it easy though,” Senior Keeper Bryton Schlunsen said.
Tea Area became the first Class “A” program to sweep the boys and girls state soccer titles, and just the second school to accomplish that feat, joining Lincoln who won both “AA” titles in 2014.