High school playoff soccer comes to Vermillion Saturday when the Tanager girls and boys varsity clubs both host games whose winners advance to next week's state tournament.
The Tanager girls, No. 7 among 11 Class "A" girls teams, host No. 11 Huron, at 1 p.m. at Cotton Park. When they played each other on Aug. 27, Vermillion won 4-0. The Tanagers take a record of two wins, five losses and a tie into Saturday's showdown, scoring 11 goals and allowing 26. Huron is still winless in nine games and has scored only three goals while allowing 63.
The other "A" girls play-in game sends Sioux Falls Christian to Mitchell. Automatically advancing to the state tourney in Mitchell Oct. 6-8 are No. 1 West Central, No. 2 Harrisburg, No. 3 Belle Fourche, No. 4 Groton, No. 5 St. Thomas More and No. 6 Sturgis.
In boys "A" soccer all 16 teams have to go through a play-in game. In Vermillion's case the No. 5 Tanagers host No. 12 Hot Springs in a 3 p.m. faceoff at Cotton Park. They have not played each other this seson. The Tanagers stand at seven wins, two losses and a tie while the Bison are 3-6-1. Vermillion's three losses were to No. 1 Huron 6-0 and No. 4 Groton 4-1, and the tie was with No. 3 James Valley Christian 2-2.
The other "A" boys play-in games are Chamberlain at Huron (16-1), Mitchell Christian at Sioux Falls Christian (15-2), Belle Fourche at James Valley Christian (14-3), Lead/Deadwood at Groton (13-4), Custer at Harrisburg (11-6), Sturgis at Freeman Academy (10-7), and St. Thomas More at Mitchell (9-8).
Vermillion's varsity girls celebrated Parents Day in front of a great crowd Saturday with their first shutout of the season, a 2-0 decision over Mitchell. The first of Christine Epping's two goals came on an assist from Mackenzie Gale, and the second scored off a header from Tori Gregoire.
Katie Wasley recorded a perfect seven saves in goal.
Coach Dave LaCombe said his team won by controlling the midfield with Shelby Gregoire and Gale having strong performances. He said Tori Gregoire, Teddi Settles, Epping and Allie Mockler played tough on offense, setting up numerous scoring chances. LaCombe also attributed the win to strong games from Hailey Freidel, Kortni walker, Cheyenne Mallory and Autumn Barnett.
Boys varsity goalkeeper Alex Robertson had a busy day making 14 saves, but Sturgis could get nothing past him into the net as the Tanagers pulled away in the second half for a 4-0 triumph.
Nate Samudzi broke the scoring ice with a goal at the 18:00 mark of the first half. His second goal just three minutes after halftime gave VHS some breathing room. Goals by Ethan James at 11:20 and Samudzi at 6:21 salted away the victory.
The girls TVs posted their first win, beating Mitchell 6-3. Maddie Gregoire tied the game at 1-1 on an assist from Maddie Regnerus, then Regnerus tied the game at 2-2 on a penalty kick. The Tanagers rallied for a third time on Makenna Koble's goal off a deep pass from Maggie Peterson. Vermillion went on a 3-0 scoring run to finish off the game, Regnerus scoring unassisted, Bailey Mann scoring on Kayla Mulheron's assist and Maddie Gregoire scoring on Bailey Gale's assist.