An Eastern South Dakota Conference title. School records for victories and best post-season finish. But a semifinal loss in 2018 left the Yankton Gazelles girls’ soccer team wanting more.
The result: an 11-0-2 record, another ESD title and the top seed in the Class AA playoffs, which begin today (Tuesday).
“With this team we had a lot of goal-scorers returning,” said Yankton head coach Tyler Schuring. “Our offense stayed on track, we improved our defense and have been impressive in the midfield.”
Senior Jaiden Boomsma, already the program’s all-time leading scorer, added to her career totals with team-highs of 13 goals and four assists this season. Senior Madison Wuebben, who ranked second on the team in goals with five, matched Boomsma’s four assists.
“Jaiden is definitely a special talent up top, but she’s also one of our best assist players,” Schuring said. “We have a lot of players that can put pressure on the other team. We had a number of players that took advantage of those opportunities.”
The Gazelles got plenty of scoring from its seniors, including Payton Wolfgram (4 goals, 2 assists), Madison Schroeder (3 goals), Kelsey Oswald (2 goals, 1 assist) and Sadie Fedders (2 goals, 1 assist). Also scoring for Yankton this season were juniors Thea Luken (2 goals, 1 assist), Megan Cap (2 goals, 1 assist) and Emma Christensen (1 goal, 1 assist), and sophomores Cora Schurman (2 goals, 3 assists) and Kate Beeman (1 assist).
Fedders, whose two goals came in the regular season finale against Huron, has anchored the Gazelles defense in the net. Of the 71 shots on goal she has faced, she stopped 66 of them for a school-record 93 percent save rate.
Fedders’ efforts — combined with defenders like seniors Morgan Strahl, Cecilia Kouri, Kelsey Oswald and junior Kylie Bochman — have helped open things up for the Gazelle offense as well.
“It’s been a great benefit for our team,” Schuring said of the defensive experience and talent. “We’ve been able to take some chances up top, and it’s allowed us to transition forward.”
Yankton opens against a Sioux Falls Washington squad that dropped a 7-0 decision to the Gazelles in August. Wolfgram had two goals, and Boomsma had a goal and two assists in that match.
“We need to make sure we’re not getting complacent in the back,” Schuring said. “The biggest things we need to do are kill their transition and eliminate our unforced errors.”
The winners of today’s first-round matchups will advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday, with the Yankton-Washington winner facing the O’Gorman-Pierre winner. Semifinal matches are set for Oct. 15, with the finals set for Oct. 19 in Harrisburg.
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