Tanagers finish sixth in state soccer tournament The Vermillion Tanager girls' soccer team earned a sixth place finish in the State High School Soccer Tournament last weekend in Aberdeen.
Sioux Falls O'Gorman captured first place with a 2-1 victory over rival Sioux Falls Lincoln.
The Tanagers entered the tournament seeded third, following a regular season record of 11 wins and two losses. Facing #14 Pierre, the Tanagers cruised to a 3-0 win on goals by Kelly Peterson, Lana Johnson, and Mary Nelson. The win did have a cost however, as Kelly Peterson received a severe kick to the ankle that hindered her mobility throughout the rest of the tournament. Natasha Peton and Danielle Weydert shared the shutout in the net, with Weydert blocking a Pierre penalty kick late in the match.
Facing Spearfish in the second round, the Tanagers opened the scoring in the 15 minutes on a goal by Peterson. Spearfish answered back moments later, and the Tanagers were unable to keep pace with the speed and athleticism of the Spartans and were defeated by a score of 4-1.
Playing for the opportunity to enter the fifth-place game, the Tanagers were matched with Rapid City Central on Saturday mornings. Vermillion took the early lead on a spectacular finish by eighth-grader Sandy Winckler, and following a goal by Central the teams finished the first half with the score at 1-1. Winckler scored her second goal midway through the second half, and the Tanagers held on for a 2-1 victory behind the tenacious defensive play of Jenna Gilkyson, Amy Petekavich, Elle Kjose, Brittany Sand, and Tara Job. Danielle Weydert was in goal for the Tanagers.
Facing Sioux Falls Roosevelt in the fifth place game, the Tanagers could not hold pace with the Riders and suffered a 3-0 loss to end the tournament with a sixth place finish.
"We were not at our best on Friday, and unfortunately a rather shaky performance against Pierre carried over to the Spearfish match. The players were determined to prove themselves on Saturday, and put together a very fine performance against Central," Coach Jeff Pederson said. "We simply ran out of gas by the time we played Roosevelt. Amy Petekavich gave an outstanding and inspirational performance despite a badly-stretched ankle ligament, and Kelly Peterson, Tressa Olson, Carly Bernard and Mandy Winckler all carried injuries into the tournament.
"Jenna Gilkyson and Elle Kjose played remarkably well and gave 110 percent despite being afflicted with mono," he added.
The Tanagers end the season with a record of 13 wins, four losses, and one tie. Pederson looks forward to continue success for the team next year.
"We will graduate seven seniors who have been with the high school team from the start. We will return a strong nucleus from this year, and will benefit from a very talented freshman class," he said.
Playing their final matches for the Tanagers were seniors Lana Johnson, Katy Carlson, Natasha Peton, Shawna Baron, Elle Kjose, Amy Petekavich, and Kelly Peterson.