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Titan boys ready to kick season off with high hopes

At right: Ashdan Farrell fights for possession last season for the Titan boys. Farrell earned SDHSSC 2022 Class A All State Honorable Mention.

The anticipation is building as the boys’ soccer season at Tea Area High School is set to begin Aug. 17, and Head Coach Zach Jurgens is optimistic about the team’s prospects. Starting his eighth year at the helm of the program, Jurgens brings experience and insight that will undoubtedly shape the team’s performance this season.

Last season, the Tea Area soccer team finished with a record of 7-7-2, narrowly missing out on a chance at the State Championship title after a defeat to Sioux Falls Christian in the semifinals. Despite the setback, Jurgens sees last year’s experience as a stepping stone towards this year’s success.

“Crazy to say after last year, but this year I expect our offense to be dynamic and explosive if need be,” said Jurgens.

The team has faced the departure of key players like Tobin Hoffman and Nick Loof due to graduation, but Jurgens is quick to highlight the bright future ahead with a strong talent that’s making its presence felt on both the varsity and junior varsity squads.

“We’re excited about this year as a program,” said Jurgen. “We have been young for the past three years so those classes are starting to fill both teams on a regular basis.”

Jurgens, who will be assisted this season by Ryan Gallagher and Sergio Baneulos, expects the varsity’s offense to be among the strengths of this year’s team. However, Jurgens also points out a potential challenge in achieving consistent game chemistry, especially with a packed schedule that features seven games in 14 days.

In terms of competition, the teams to beat are, in Jurgens mind, SFC, Vermillion, and St. Thomas More. Jurgens acknowledges their strength but remains confident in his own team’s abilities.

“This year’s varsity team is going to be fun to coach/watch, with a good senior leadership group complemented with the young talent, we have a high ceiling,” Jurgens added. “I know the team’s hungry after how last year ended…it’s going to be a fun year.”

This year’s roster features returning starters Jon Schlunsen, Peyton Edmonds, Juv Banza, Ashdan Farrell, Jonathon Howe, Austin Eimers, Cason Hall, Ethan DeGeest, Gavin Reiners, Ivan Zamora, and Daylen McKnelly. These players, along with Brad Johnson, Caleb Buus, Hudson Hadrick, Mats Leipert, Matai Yadassa, Becket Martens, Brandon Venhuizen, and Nathan Hall, are gearing up for a season filled with potential and promise.

As the Tea Area boys’ soccer team takes the field, excitement is in the air, and the players are ready to showcase their hard work and dedication. The Titans open the season with a home match against Dakota Valley on Thursday, Aug. 17. They will be at home again on Saturday, Aug. 19 in a match-up against James Valley Christian.

On Aug. 22 the team hosts Watertown. They will take to the road on Aug. 24 for a game in Vermillion and will be on the road on Saturday, Aug. 26 when they take on Harrisburg.

An away game against West Central on Aug. 28 and one at Sioux Falls Christian on Aug. 31 wraps up their August match-ups.

The Titans will be home again on Sept. 5 when they take on Freeman Academy.


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