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South Washington County adapted soccer: Thunderbolts kick off season; 2-1-1 through four games

The South Washington County Thunderbolts adapted soccer team kicked off the season recently and are off to a fine start.

Through four games, the 'Bolts are 2-1-1 and currently in fourth place in the CI South Division.

The Thunderbolts started the year with a 9-3 win at home over St. Paul Johnson and followed it up with a 5-1 win on the road against North/Tartan. The 'Bolts suffered their only loss thus far, in game No. 3, 8-1 to Dakota United, before rebounding to tie Chaska/Chanhassen/Prior Lake/Shakopee 4-4 in their most recent game.

In the season opener back on October 1, Tristan Rankin scored six goals for the Thunderbolts to lead the way over St. Paul Johnson.

"Great way to kick-off the season," first-year head coach John Culbertson said. "I eventually had to put (Tristan) back on defense, but he probably could have scored 10 goals. We were both pleased with his performance."

Culbertson also noted "solid play" by team co-captain Alice Liu.

"She plays defense and offense for us," Culbertson said. "She hardly ever comes off the floor."

The Thunderbolts followed up the win with another one - beating North St. Paul/Tartan in their first road game.

The Thunderbolts outshot North/Tartan 48-16 in the 5-1 win. Dylan Kubitschek scored his first two varsity goals in the victory.

Culbertson also said Austin Sager, Lucas Fiedler, and (alternate captain) John Stutelberg all did an "outstanding defensive job."

The Thunderbolts first loss of the year came last week - on Monday, Oct. 10 - to the Dakota United (4-1; 4-0 CI South).

"Tough, tough game," Culbertson said. "They are a physical and aggressive team who just keep attacking. We got down early and couldn't stay with them. We didn't quit or feel sorry for ourselves; the kids played hard to the last whistle. That's the Thunderbolt way."

After the loss, the Thunderbolts rebounded with a 4-4 tie with Chaska.

"Fantastic team effort," Culbertson said. "I was interested in how my team would rebound after the tough Dakota game."

Down 3-2, Kubitschek scored to tie the game, then co-captain Amanda Henderson put the 'Bolts ahead 4-3. However, the Hawks were able to tie the game 4-4 with under two minutes to play.

"Chaska is a speedy, skilled squad," Culbertson said. "We got down early again, but goalie TJ Jarosiewicz made some unbelievable saves that kept us in the game. We then began to turn up the pressure on them and began to control the play."

The Thunderbolts took on Minneapolis Roosevelt on Monday, Oct. 15, after the Bulletin went to press. Next, the team travels to Burnsville/Farmington/Lakeville on Monday, Oct. 23.

"We are still learning how to play team defense, but I'm encouraged after the Chaska game," Culbertson said. "They seem to be buying into the concepts I'm trying to teach them about defensive schemes and a more free-flowing, constantly moving offense which pressures the other teams defense."