Adapted soccer: Thunderbolts end season unbeaten
The South Washington County Thunderbolts adapted soccer team capped a historic regular season on a high note.
The Thunderbolts (8-0-1) got two goals apiece from eighth-grader Bryce Bassett, junior Tristan Rankin, junior Lucas Fiedler and senior Amanda Henderson. Senior Sam Baumann added a goal while junior Dylan Kubitschek had a goal and three assists.
South Washington County experienced a season of firsts with a 5-3 victory over Dakota United, its first victory over Dakota United in seven years, and tied Burnsville 4-4 for the first time in six years. The Thunderbolts finished the season outscoring opponents 92-24 and will begin the playoffs Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at East Ridge High School.
“We’ve seen it come from the heights of championships and then there was a little valley and now we’re climbing back up,” second-year South Washington County head coach John Culbertson said. “The seniors that are on this team have seen it from the bottom, now they’re seeing what it’s like to taste that success.”
The Thunderbolts have seven seniors on the current roster who lost to North Suburban in the state consolation championship with 30 seconds left to play last year. This year the team is aiming for more.
“I told the kids getting there is one thing, getting there and getting a trophy is one thing, but medaling, winning your last game of the season, being one of the top three teams in the state, that’s what you want,” Culbertson said. “That’s our goal – to hang a colored ribbon around our neck at Stillwater.”
South Washington County will need to win its playoff game to reach the state tournament first.
The Thunderbolts coaching staff has stressed the importance of team this season and it showed Wednesday with five different players tallying assists.
“Last year our motto was believe in each other,” Culbertson said. “This year it’s not me, but we. We’re really trying to get the kids to buy into that it’s a team. We need to work for each other and not against each other and they’ve embraced that. We really work on the dynamics of a team concept rather than just blasting it down and standing there.”
South Washington County goalkeeper Thomas Jarosiewicz played a big role in goal for the Thunderbolts Wednesday and stopped several scoring chances to keep his team ahead throughout.
The coaching staff has given the senior class and captains more responsibility this season and have enjoyed watching the class progress through the years.
“We’ve been watching them grow up and learn the game over the last five, six years and we gelled them all together this year,” assistant coach Bruce Fiedler said.