Local U-16 girls are state soccer champs

Local U-16 girls are state soccer champs The Vermillion U-16 girls soccer team was crowned state champion during the Tide American Cup State Soccer Tournament held in Sioux Falls June 6-7. The team went undefeated in pool play en-route to a 2-1 victory over Yankton #1 in the championship match on Monday.

Playing in the A Division, Vermillion came through pool play with victories over Yankton #1, Brookings, and Yankton #2. Facing Yankton #1 in the championship, a determined Vermillion defensive effort kept Yankton out of the net in the first half despite a strong wind advantage. Yankton came out very strong in the second half, and used its superior team size to limit the Vermillion ball possession.

Vermillion's Jessica Heine put Vermillion ahead 1-0 with a long goal in the 55th minute, only to be answered by a tying Yankton goal seven minutes later. The game remained tied until the 74th minute when Vermillion midfielder Cori Bonte was taken down in the penalty area and converted the ensuing penalty kick for the winning Vermillion goal.

The Vermillion team consists primarily of high school freshmen and sophomores, most of whom play on the Vermillion High School varsity soccer team.

"This season was a clear case of a dedicated team that trained hard and reaped its just reward," said coach Jeff Pederson. "There were a number of highlights this spring, but tops among those was the unexpected participation of Melissa Olson who stepped in as team goalkeeper and played every minute of the season for us in that important role.

"Every girl on our roster developed further as a player this spring, and we can expect continued success from this group over the next few years," he added.

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