Titan boys defeat STM to make their sixth straight State title game appearance
With the score 0-0 at the half of the semi-final boys’ soccer match-up last Saturday, Oct. 9 the Tea Area High School boys managed to outscore St. Thomas More 2-1 in the second half to earn their seventh trip back to the State Championship match.
The Titans started off slow and were unable to capitalize on a number of chances they had to score in the opening half.
“St. Thomas More is a very good team, they came out and gave us everything they had. We faced some adversity after not converting on our chances in the first half and giving up the first goal with about 30 minutes left in the second half,” said Titan head coach Zach Jurgens.
The Titans, however, never gave up and fought back scoring two goals of their own—one by Tobin Hoffman to tie things up at 1-1 and another by Ryan Del Monaco with just over two minutes left in the game. Del Monaco, Hoffman and Nick Loof were credited with assists.
“Coach Gallagher and I were proud of the team’s response. Instead of hanging their heads, they came back to equalize the game within ten minutes. It shows what kind of team we have when things aren’t going our way and can battle back,” said Jurgens. “Despite the slow start and adversity, we were able to battle back and come away with the win to play this Saturday for the State title.”
This marks the Titans’ seventh appearance in the State Soccer Championship game. Tea Area won the State title in 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019. In 2016 and 2020 the Titans were runners-up.
For the past three years Tea Area and Sioux Falls Christian have faced off in the Championship match. This year will be no different as the Chargers defeated Belle Fourche 8-0 to advance. The Titans will be hungry for a win after falling to the Chargers in the Championship game last year in a penalty kick shoot out.
“This is what the team has worked for from the start of the season. We have put the work in to compete for another state title and now we have that chance. The expectations are obviously high every year as this is our sixth straight title game appearance,” said Jurgens. “It just shows everyone the willingness these guys have to do whatever it takes. The ‘standard’ was set high with our past players and a majority of this roster was around in some capacity to see it and as younger players truly learn what hard work, dedication, determination and ‘whatever it takes’ means. Without that, we wouldn’t be making our sixth straight championship game appearance. As coaches, we couldn’t be more pleased with this team and look forward to Saturday.”
The Titans will face off against the Chargers this Saturday, Oct. 16 at Howard Wood Field. The State Championship game will be played at 1 p.m.