Penalty kick gives Titans second State Title
By Anne Homan,
The Tea Area High School girls’ soccer team, 2022 State A Champions. Photos: Anne Homan
In the final game of the 2022 State Soccer Championships held in Tea this past Saturday, Oct. 15, the Tea Area High School girls’ soccer team celebrated with a State A Title, capping off a roller coaster of a season.
“We came in really not sure what this team could accomplish…talented but could we work together enough to get to another State Championship,” said Titan head coach Mark Anderson. “But with hard work on and off the field we were able to get the big game.”
Awaiting the Titans in the State Championship game was West Central, a familiar foe for Tea Area.
“West Central has won a lot of big games over the years, always well prepared and for the last ten seasons they’ve had two very talented goal keepers,” said Anderson.
The two goal keepers Anderson was referring to were sisters Hailee and Cambell Fischer.
“Hailee and Cambell are two of the best keepers South Dakota soccer seen class A or AA,” added Anderson.
Hailee is currently South Dakota State University’s keeper and Cambell is committed to play at the University of South Dakota.
“We knew scoring was going to be a hard thing to do in this game. West Central only gave up two all year,” said Anderson.
But the Titans had a very good goalkeeper of the own, senior Jessica Nelson, who would make it equally hard for West Central to score.
The State A Championship game between the two teams was fast and aggressive, neither team was going to concede a goal and at the end of regulation the score remained 0-0. The two teams then played two 10 minute overtime periods, which still ended in a 0-0 tie.
To break the tie, the two teams entered into a penalty kick shoot out. Each team picks five players and alternates taking their penalty kicks.
West Centra’s first shot was wide of the goal, but there were able to make 4 of their 5 kick attempts.
Tea Area was also able to make 4 of their 5 attempts with Chloe Wilson, Kara Knutson, Aftyn Murray and Kendra McKinney all making it in the back of the net. With penalty kicks tied at 4-4, the State Championship game then proceeded to sudden death penalty kicks. Each team picked a shooter.
West Central’s first player sent the ball to the goal and the Titans’ keeper, Nelson, made a diving save.
“We now had the chance to win the State Championship if we make the next penalty kick,” said Anderson. “I could not have scripted this finish any better.”
Senior Sydney Sherwood, who missed most of her freshman year to a knee injury and all of her sophomore season to a second knee injury, had came back to play her junior and now senior year; was the one the Titans elected to attempt the kick.
“Everything she had gone through, the rehab, the physical and mental aspects of recovery,” said Anderson, and now to have this chance,
Anderson thought it could be a storybook ending for this senior.
“Sydney had also missed a penalty kick last season in the playoffs. But now she had a chance to put away our biggest rival and win the 2022 State Championship,” said Anderson. “As she walked up to take that shot I turned and walked towards the stands and I knew by the reaction of the home fans she made it. I had no doubts, she was not going to miss that kick.”
Sherwood’s kick sealed the win and the State Championship title for the Titans, their second in school history.
The Titans’ honors continued as Sherwood was named Offensive Player of the Game and Nelson was named Defensive Player of the Game.