By Bob San
Despite graduating four of its best players last year, the Park Center CI adapted soccer team finished the season at the top of the North Conference with a perfect 10-0 record.
The Pirates now set sight on this week’s state tournament at Stillwater High School Friday and Saturday.
“When you lose as many good players as we did, you don’t expect to bounce back like this,” said head coach Kelli Waalk. “We truly expected to be a .500 team this year. We opened the season with a tough game against North Suburban, moved a couple players to new positions, and have been on a roll since. Our players are incredibly coach-able and extremely unselfish. They worked hard at every practice this season and the hard work has paid off.”
The Pirates defeated North St. Paul-Tartan 7-1 in a play-off game Nov. 8 to earn a spot for state this week.
Augie Wodrich opened the Pirates scoring by netting his first goal in under a minute and led all scorers with four goals and two assists. Defensive specialist Kevin Hofer also scored a goal and added three assists. Aaron Clark added another goal late in the first half. Austin Rohach notched the assist.
“We stress the importance of spreading out the offense, moving the ball from side-to-side, and out hustling our opponents to every ball,” Waalk said. “Our kids have learned the importance of these three things and they put these skills to good use in every game we have played.”
Wodrich anchors the Pirates’ offense, with Clark and Kreidler on the wings. Wodrich leads the team in scoring this season with 41 goals and 49 assists. Tasha Feigh, Hofer, and Lavelle Riser-Blackman make-up the Pirates tough brick-wall defensive line. Megan Thompson and Hofer split time in the net to finish the season with a .941 save percentage and a 1.9 goals against average.
The Pirates open the state tournament Friday, Nov. 16, with a 5 p.m. game against South Washington County. The semifinals and final are Saturday, Nov. 17.
“I’m so proud of all our players and we look forward to competing in the state tournament,” Waalk said. “If we continue to move the ball around and play brick wall defense, I’m confident that good things will happen at the tournament.