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Tea Area repeats as girls state soccer champions

Tim Tushla
South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Tea Area defeated Groton Area 3-1 on Saturday at Brandon Valley high school in Brandon for the ‘A’ girls state soccer champion.

While the first half remained a scoreless affair, things picked up in the final 40-minutes for the Titans.

“They gave us a good battle. “Our team had to settle down and play on the ground,” explained Titans head coach Mark Anderson. “Once we did that, I knew we had it.”

Cate Giles, Sage Hoffman, and Kendra Nielson scored three quick goals for Tea Area in the second half. But for Giles, her goal came when coach Anderson picked her for a penalty kick.

“She’s so young, she’s not scared of anything,” chuckled Anderson. “She’s not scared of anything or anybody. She’s been that way all year.”

With less than 10-minutes to play in the contest, Groton Area did get on the board when Jerica Locke found the back of the net.

Tea Area entered this year as the defending state champs in girls Class A. Last year, the Titans won the state title in a shootout with West Central.

“Beginning of the year, we didn’t know what we had. We knew we were good, didn’t know how good," Anderson explained. "We got better every week. Come playoffs, I knew we could do this. It’s a good group of girls.”

The Titans entered postseason play as the No. 1 overall seed. They then topped Garretson in the quarterfinal round and knocked out West Central in a tight semifinal matchup to return to the state championship match.

Coach Anderson also commented in the post-match interview that Saturday’s championship game will probably be his last as the Titans head coach.

“Probably my last,” he said. “These players mean a lot to me and to win this one is huge - to go out this way.”

This is the third state championship for the Tea Area girls soccer program. They’ve also played in the state title match a total of six times.

Nate Wek is currently the sports content producer and sports and rec beat reporter for South Dakota Public Broadcasting. He is a graduate of South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism Broadcasting and a minor in Leadership. From 2010-2013 Nate was the Director of Gameday Media for the Sioux Falls Storm (Indoor Football League) football team. He also spent 2012 and 2013 as the News and Sports Director of KSDJ Radio in Brookings, SD. Nate, his wife Sarah, and two kids Braxan and Jordy, live in Canton, SD.