Boys and girls soccer team’s trip through sections

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Photo submitted by Mark Hvidsten

Junior Riley Buxell celebrates his winning goal for the section championship against Park. This win was just one of many for the boys soccer team, unfortunately they will not get the chance to compete for a state title.

“With Covid we had a reduced schedule for the regular season, and unfortunately we didn’t get a state tournament,” junior Riley Buxell said. The girls and boys soccer teams both took the win at the 2020 MSHSL Section championship, but due to COVID-19, they will not get the chance to compete in the state tournament this year.

The boys soccer team beat Park 1-0 for the section championship Oct. 24. The boys competed in a total of three games for the championship. In order to have the chance to make it to the championship they had to beat Tartan, who they lost to previously during the season.

“Our first game of sections was a 6-1 win for us, so coming off that game we felt good about the tournament. It also helped that our toughest opponents were eliminated in the first round,” Buxell said. 

Not only did the boys team win sections, but girls soccer team did as well. The girls beat Eastridge 2-0 for the section championship. The girls were on a roll this season and went undefeated.

Assistant coach Dusty Dennis said they used their number one ranking a lot throughout their entire season. 

Although Covid took a toll on both teams, they had limits like the number of fans, and coaches had to wear masks. They faced the constant fear of getting shut down as well. Their seasons were extremely limited, as they each only played 14 games, whereas a normal season would have had double that. 

“I think Covid took a toll on the overall experience this season. I can truly say that while we complained as coaches to each other, I never once heard a single one of the girls complain. I think they were all just thankful that we could play at all,” Dennis said. 

Fortunately we didn’t have any trouble in regards to losing players to quarantine.”

— Riley Buxell

Both teams wanted the chance to compete at state, but due to COVID-19 the MSHSL decided not to host a state tournament. However, there were rumors that an unofficial tournament would be held for the 16 section champions. Unfortunately those plans fell through, which was a huge disappointment for the teams. 

Buxell said that he and his team worked so hard to earn their spot in the state tournament, so it was very upsetting not to be able to play it.

Fall sports were originally supposed to be moved to the spring, but on Sept. 21 the MSHSL agreed to letting them play in the fall as long as safety guidelines were put in place and followed.

“We felt lucky to even have the opportunity to play,” Buxell said. 

It took a lot of hard work and positivity to get through this season. This was the girl’s third consecutive section win, and the boy’s fourth win in the past five years. The teams went in not knowing what to expect for a tournament or if they would even get the chance to go to state.

Dennis thought “if they worked hard enough and stayed focused then positive things would happen” this season. 

“We had to play every game like it was our last because the whole program could be shut down at any point,” Buxell added.