Tanagers take fourth at state tournament

Tanagers take fourth at state tournament The Vermillion Lady Tanagers soccer team finished the 2004 State High School Soccer Tournament in Aberdeen with a fourth place finish following a narrow 1-0 defeat to St. Thomas Moore of Rapid City in the third-place game Saturday afternoon.

Entering the eight-team field as #2 seed, the Tanagers opened play on a high note with a resounding 5-0 victory over Sturgis. In semi-final action, the Tanagers took a 2-1 lead into halftime against Spearfish, only to fall flat in the second half en-route to a 5-2 defeat.

Goal scorers in the tournament were Emma Erickson with three, Cori Bonte with two, and Kelsey Bowman and Margaret Mueller with one apiece.

Senior goalkeeper Christopherson was in the net for the Tanagers, recording a total of 17 saves throughout the three games.

A number of outstanding individual performances were turned in by Tanager players. "The player that stands out in the win over Sturgis is Kelsey Bowman," said coach Jeff Pederson. "Her ball distribution was outstanding, and she consistentently found the seams in the defense to send our attackers through. Bonte and Erickson also showed that they are the best striker tandem in the state, working together throughout to produce shots on goal."

The third-place game was played with a 30 mph wind blowing from one end of the field to the other. Attacking with the wind in the first half, the Tanagers managed one goal, only to have it disallowed on an offsides call.

The Tanagers switched to a more defensive formation in the second half, and held the talented Thomas Moore to only one goal while still managing to penetrate the defense on the other end of the field but falling short in the effort to score.

A highlight of the match was a tremendous save by Christopherson on a high shot that she perfectly timed her leap to prevent a wind-aided ball from entering the upper corner of the Tanager net.

This year marks the first winning season for the Tanagers since the 2000 season, with a final overall record of seven wins, three ties, and five losses. Prospects for the future look bright, as a very talented group of underclassmen will return in 2005.

"With the outstanding back line play of underclassmen Nicola Obeney and Jess Hirsh returning for next season, the defense will be solid provided we find a replacement for Christopherson in goal," said Pederson. "The defense will also be bolstered with the return of Jade Hofer, Amy Mart, and Annika Sjolie." With Bowman, Bonte, Erickson, Margaret Mueller and Emily Gamm returning on attack, the Tanagers should again scorch the net of opposing teams.

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