SPEARFISH — The work ethic of the Spearfish varsity boys’ soccer team stood out for head coach Jim Hill as he recapped the recent season.
“They really were willing to work hard and spent a lot of time trying to improve their games,” Hill said. He added the players improved, but the team did not have its best performance at season’s end.
Spearfish dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Sioux Falls O’Gorman in a class AA quarterfinal playoff game. The Spartans forged a final record of 13 wins, one loss, and two ties.
Team strengths going into the season included players’ willingness to move and change positions, according to Hill. He agreed this also posed a concern.
“At times, we had to shift that around. It worked out for us most of the time; going undefeated in the regular season really showed we could do that.”
Hill said having players at certain places definitely strengthened the team.
Spearfish defeated St. Thomas More 6-1 to begin the season and launch a 12-game winning streak. That stretch included victories of 4-2 over Sioux Falls Roosevelt; 1-0 over O’Gorman; and consecutive shutout wins over Mitchell, Sturgis, Belle Fourche (twice), and Douglas/Rapid City Christian.
A 3-1 conquest of Rapid City Central boosted the Spartans’ mark to 12-0. Spearfish tied Rapid City Stevens and Sturgis 1-1 to end the regular season and secure the number 2 seed for the Class AA playoffs. The Spartans hosted number 15 Brookings to open the playoffs and earned a 5-1 victory. That set up the quarterfinal matchup against O’Gorman.
Hill said Spearfish’s evolution changed into more of a team effort as the season progressed.
“They started looking on what can we do to be a better team, and not so much what can I do to be a better player,” he explained.
On-field highlights for Hill centered on players learning, and communicating to each other the right things to do at the right moments.
Players held each other accountable at times, and Hill said that is sometimes a bigger highlight.
“They don’t have to play well together. They want to play well together,” Hill explained.
A number of younger players showed they really wanted to be part of the varsity squad, according to Hill.
He said they demonstrated the ability to play and could contribute a lot as sophomores next season.
Bridger Roberdeau, Dominic De Saro, Brock Bacon, Ben Wise, Gabe Knudson, and Fernando Lara Lopez represented the senior class in 2020.
Leadership marked one of the biggest contributions for this year’s senior class. “They all led at different times and held each other accountable,” Hill said.
“They held the team to a certain standard. You’re going to perform at this standard and not deviate from that.”
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