The members of Vermillion's varsity boys soccer team may never see another 16-goal game in their lifetimes, but they can at least say they were part of one.
The Tanagers blitzed a young, overmatched Belle Fourche team 16-0 Friday night in the first of two games on a Black Hills road trip. The next afternoon Vermillion was within a whisker of beating the defending state champion Sturgis club when a tinge of home-pitch advantage got in their way. The game ended in a 1-1 deadlock.
Meanwhile, the Tanager girls lost 2-0 at Belle Fourche and dropped a 2-1 contest at Sturgis.
The boys' game at Belle featured seven goals by Nathan Samudzi, five by Levi James, two by Tanner Settles, one by Tanner Anderson and a beautiful long shot by Ethan James.
The Sturgis contest was a rough one against an aggressive Scooper club. A Tanager player was red-carded early in the first half for his reaction to what Coach Carlos Telleria called "repeated fouls from the Sturgis opponents." Thus Vermillion had to play the remaining 70 minutes of the game one man short. Even so, the Tanagers rose to the occasion and held a 1-0 lead, which had been established off a Samudzi goal five minutes into the game, through the entire second half.
However, in extra time, seconds before the game ended, a penalty kick was called in the 91st minute, and Sturgis capitalized on what Telleria said was a "questionable call," especially considering the circumstances and when it occurred.
Nevertheless, the Tanagers escaped the first two weekends of the season with one win and two ties. The next power-point game is tonight at Cotton Park against Mitchell.
Vermillion's girls played Belle Fourche very competitively but couldn't capitalize on scoring opportunities. "When you play too much defense, they are bound to put the ball in the back of the net," said Coach Dave LaCombe. "Our defense played very strong with great performances from Tasha Donnelly, Morgan Erickson, Haley Freidel, Tracy Howe, Kortni Walker and Katie Wasley." Goalkeeper Wasley made 12 saves.
At Sturgis Ashley Brunick scored off a Morgan Erickson assist to tie the game at 1-1 in the second half. "Unfortunately we could not put the ball in the net when opportunities arose," LaCombe said, "and a critical defense mistake by leaving a Sturgis player unmarked allowed the winning goal."
The girls are also home tonight against Mitchell before a long Saturday morning road trip to Groton. On Labor Day the girls and boys varsity clubs both play at Sioux Falls Christian.