By Parker Knox
The last high school soccer game of the regular season prior to the October state tournaments will be played at Cotton Park at 1 p.m. Saturday when Vermillion's unbeaten and top-rated Tanager boys host Chamberlain.
Meanwhile, the Tanager girls have completed their regular season, doing so with their first win of the league season last weekend, and are awaiting tournament play as well.
The VHS boys, unless they collapse dramatically, should not see their unbeaten streak spoiled against Chamberlain, a team with an 0-8 record which has been outscored in league games 48-1.
Vermillion, on its second road trip to the Black Hills in a three-weekend span, won at Sturgis, 6-3, Friday night. Goalkeeper Alex Robertson had a great game, making 10 saves in the nets, several of them on close-range Scooper shots.
Meanwhile, at the offensive end the Tanagers struck from a variety of sources. Nathan Samudzi had a pair of goals, Ethan James scored from a kickoff, and Matt Perogi, Sam Tigert and David Day also contributed to the Tanager total.
Of the 10 Class "A" boys teams, the top six automatically qualify for the state tournament in Rapid City Oct. 11-13, so the Tanagers are safe in that regard, and no play-in game will be necessary. But the teams ranked No. 7 through No. 10 have to survive a play-in game to reach state.
The long trip west was worth it for the Tanager girls, who won at Sturgis, 3-1, to break into the win column. Vermillion had beaten Sioux Falls Christian in the season opener in August, but that game did not count in power-point standings.
Goalkeeper Hailey Freidel stopped all six Sturgis shots in the first half. Meanwhile, Mackenzie Gale scored in the 24th minute for a 1-0 Tanager lead as she zipped the ball over Sturgis keeper Heidi Haivala's head.
Gale then broke a 1-1 tie with her second goal in the 63rd minute. Natasha Samudzi passed the ball to Gale in the center of the field, and she shot it past Haivala to put VHS back in front. Samudzi herself added a victory-sealing goal late in the contest.
The Vermillion girls went on to Belle Fourche on Saturday and lost there by a 3-0 count, so they finished the regular season at 1-7-0.