Soccer teams continue stellar play

Varsity boys soccer returns to Cotton Park at 1 p.m. Saturday when the Tanagers host James Valley Christian.

Meanwhile, the VHS girls team is idle until Tuesday when they play at West Central at 6 p.m.

The Vermillion boys, who have yet to lose this season, enjoyed a weekend sweep in the southern Black Hills, edging Hot Springs on Friday 2-1, then stunning a good Custer team 3-1 Saturday.

At Hot Springs both Tanager goals came off the talented foot of senior Levi James.  The latter of the two was a long-range missile that reached the goal on a very accurate free kick.

In the Custer game the Wildcats went up 1-0 when David Hernandez converted a Luke Roddy assist in the first half.  But at the 60:00 mark James did it again, scoring on a direct kick from 40 yards out to tie the game.  VHS went ahead to stay 2-1 at the 72:00 mark on a goal by Ty Osborne, and another score from James at the 88:00 mark added insurance to the lead.

Vermillion has won four, lost none and tied three and stood in fourth place among the Class "A" boys teams in the power-point standings as of Monday.  The top eight teams at season's end are assured of home games in the one-game playoff round to determine the eight state tourney participants.

Meanwhile, Saturda's opponent, James Valley Christian, has won three and lost four and is seventh in power points.

Vermillion's varsity girls played their last home game Monday night and celebrated Family Night in the process.  It proved to be an intense struggle as VHS and Harrisburg fought to a 1-1 deadlock.

Harrisburg led at halftime, 1-0, but at the 70:00 mark, Natasha Samudzi converted a direct free kick into the goal after Christine Epping had been fouled outside the penalty mark area to give the Tanagers a tie.

The Tanager girls broke a losing streak against two-time defending state champion St. Thomas More by playing the Cavaliers to a 1-1 tie here Friday night.  Katie Wasley had 14 saves to spark the Vermillion defense.

STM scored early in the second half to go up 1-0, but Allie Mockler converted a late score from a pass from Christine Epping to tie the game.

"The game was very intense," Coach Dave LaCombe said, "and the hometown spectators were our 12th man on the field, supporting the team throughout the game."

Earlier last week the Tanager girls won a stirring 1-0 game over Sioux Falls Christian on the strength of a Christine Epping goal on Natasha Samudzi's assist at the 60:00 mark.

"Our defense was very strong," said LaCombe.  "Morgan Erickson, Tasha Donnelly, Tracy Howe, Hailey Freidel and Kortni Walker were exceptional on defense, and offensively we kept applying pressure with shots on goal and corner kicks."

The coach described it as the team's best game to that point in the season.  He said Shelby Gregoire and Natasha Samudzi distributed the ball well in their midfielder roles while Tori Gregoire and Ashley Brunick kept putting crosses into the middle and Teddi Settles and Epping played tough as strikers.

Prior to Monday night's game, the Vermillion girls were fifth among the 10 Class "A" girls teams in the state power-point standings with a record of three wins, three losses and a tie.  The top six are assured of berths straight into the state tournament while teams 7-10 have to go through a one-game playoff to get there.

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