South Washington County adapted soccer: Thunderbolts on roll, finish 6-2-1
The South Washington County adapted soccer team is getting hot at the right time.
The Thunderbolts won four of their last five games to finish 6-2-1 in the CI South Division, which was good for a tie for third place in the league.
Most recently, the 'Bolts beat Minneapolis Roosevelt 8-1 at East Ridge on Oct. 15, then traveled to Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville and falling 9-2 on Oct. 23, before rebounding with a 4-2 win at South Suburban and a 16-0 win at home against Minneapolis Edison. Last week, the Thunderbolts capped the successful stretch with a 7-3 win over St. Paul Humboldt at East Ridge on Oct. 31.
East Ridge head coach John Culbertson called the Thunderbolts' 16-0 win over Minneapolis Edison a "fantastic team effort."
"Edison is an upstart program that is having growing pains right now: they only fielded eight players and were clearly overmatched," Culbertson said. "We still played hard and tried to work on our court spacing and passing the ball effectively.
According to Culbertson, every varsity player saw action in the game and played a vital role in the victory. Seniors Amber Hagen and Hayley Carriere, junior Sam Baumann and recently called-up eighth grader Casey Murnan scored their first varsity goals in the win. In addition, said Culbertson, Britanny Dickson and Michael Ruland also made contributions to the great team defensive effort in preserving goalie Thomas Jarosiewicz's first shutout of the season.
Before beating Minneapolis Edison, the Thundberbolts played a close game with South Suburban, but came away with a 4-2 victory.
"Our first end of a back-to-back road game was an example of a gritty team win," Culbertson said.
In the game, South Washington County fell behind 1-0 on a goal within the first 15 seconds. However, just 30 seconds later, the 'Bolts tied the game 1-1 - which is the way the first half would come to a close.
In the second half, John Studleberg took control of the ball in his defensive zone, rushed the ball end-to-end, weaving through the entire Jets team, and blasted a low shot which found the corner of the short side of the net. Dylan Kubitschek completed the scoring for the Thunderbolts two minutes later and sealed the victory.
The lone blemish on the week was a 9-2 loss to Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville on the 23rd.
"The Blazin' Cats are the top team in our division," Culbertson said. "The game was very close in the first half; we were only down 3-1 and had stayed with them all over the court. The second half saw us just run out of steam and our defense suffered."
Scoring for the 'Bolts in the game was Henderson and Tristan Rankin.
South Washington County now takes on St. Cloud Area in the opening round of the playoffs on Wednesday, Nov. 7, at East Ridge High School. A win would give the Thunderbolts a state tournament berth, but a loss ends the team's season. Last year, the 'Bolts fell to Mounds View a game short of state.