Soccer team regains championship status

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Photo submitted by Laurie Hansen
Members of the boys soccer team hoist the 1st place trophy after winning the game 2-1 at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

A sea of red cheered on the Stillwater boys soccer team on Nov. 3 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The crowds of fans dressed in red were there to see the Ponies kick in the goal that won them the Class 2A state championship.

The Ponies faced off against Duluth East. The two schools went head-to-head with the same season records of 19-1-2. Duluth East had secured its spot in the championship by defeating Minnetonka. Stillwater secured its spot by defeating St. Paul Central.

“I just love soccer, really. And the Stillwater community has done an excellent job of creating ambitious soccer players,” Head Coach Jake Smothers said.

That ambition was evident on the field as the players scored the first goal in the first half of the game.

“The atmosphere that we have at the school and how many fans we have come out to games and stuff. That is a fun thing when you are out there on the field,” 12th-grade soccer captain Logan Huber said.

We are like one big family. Most of us have been playing together for all four years of high-school. We lost last year in the state championship and so, it’s like, revenge.”

— Hunter Stoermoen

That fan base cheered them on throughout the game and in the final moments as the game went into overtime. Not even a minute into overtime, senior Spencer Scott kicked the game-winning goal and took home the championship.

“We are like one big family. Most of us have been playing together for all four years of high-school. We lost last year in the state championship and so, it’s like, revenge,” senior defense Hunter Stoermoen said.

This was the school’s third consecutive state appearance and their second championship in three years. Their last state championship was won in 2016 against Wayzata, the 2017 season found the Stillwater team losing to Wayzata.

“I’m very satisfied with the way my players are playing it brings me a lot of joy to see how much fun they’re having,” Smothers added.

Soccer is a great sport to connect with friends and promotes teamwork and sharing according to BetterHealth.Vic.Gov.

“We do a lot of team bonding and [as one of the captains] I try to be a leader on the field and set a good example for all of the other kids, and especially the new kids coming into the program,” Huber added. This years’ team was made up of one incoming freshman Dylan Magistad, and three sophomores, Matthew Folden, Gora Gora and Carson Arco.

“Next year we have a lot of young kids coming up. We’re graduating seven starters so the team will look a lot different next year,” Smothers said.

This won’t stop the team’s spirit and ambition to not only succeed in this sport, but also to enjoy the time spent on and off the field honing their skills and forming friendships.

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