The No. 5 seed Vermillion boys’ soccer team fell 2-3 to the Class A’s 1 seed Sioux Falls Christian in the semifinal playoff game this past Monday. The game was rescheduled from Saturday because of inclement weather.
“It’s no secret that SFC were heavy favorites heading into this semifinal match-up,” said Vermillion head coach Curt Nelson. “They were undefeated in Class A this year.”
SFC allowed one goal all season, excluding the Tanagers who scored three against them in one game and another in their second matchup of the regular season.
“Going into the playoffs, we never had to discuss if we could win or boost morale because of our #5 ranking,” said coach Nelson. “Instead, the team just went to work. After upsetting #4 Groton on the road, our confidence and team chemistry were peaking at the right time.”
The game was competitive from the start. The opponents started with the lead as they scored the first goal in the 29 minute.
Vermillion’s junior Matheus Pires dribbled through the defense and scored at 36’ to tie the game 1-1.
SFC received an indirect kick from within the penalty box in the following minute. They took advantage of the opportunity to regain the lead.
The Tanagers were down 1-2 going into the second half.
Senior Sam Ward finished a header off a corner kick at 46’ to tie the game once more 2-2. The intensity increased as the minutes wound down with the championship game on the line.
SFC scored their third goal at 61’ to put Vermillion behind 2-3. The Tanagers created several opportunities to put the game into overtime, but SFC’s defense kept the scoreboard as is.
Vermillion ended their season at the semifinal playoff game, 2-3, against the top seed SFC.
“The heart we showed against SFC was absolutely outstanding,” said coach Nelson. “Not only did we play hard, but we also executed our game plan after going down several times throughout the game. It’s always tough to lose in the postseason, but when your student-athletes leave everything on the field and outplay all expectations, that is something to be really proud of.”
Coach Nelson said the team exceeded expectations this year after losing eight players from last season.
“When I think about how this team looked in early August compared to our mid-October form, I’m very impressed,” said coach Nelson.
The Tanagers will lose four seniors from this season.
“I will miss some really good players and even better kids,” said coach Nelson. “They are four guys that we love having in the locker room, and they were outstanding role models for our young players the past few years.”