by Dennis Dalman
It was a stunning double triumph when the Sartell boys’ and the girls’ soccer teams won Section 8A games late last week that launched them into Class A state competition.
The girls’ team defeated Alexandria, then went on to trounce St. Cloud Cathedral 2-0 at St. Cloud State University’s Husky Stadium. The two goals were scored by Abby Spanier and Sophie VanSurksum. Team captains are VanSurksum, Kelsey Frank and Katie Stuttgen. It’s the first time the girls’ soccer team earned state play since 2007.
Also at Husky Stadium last week, the boys’ team beat Bemidji, then defeated St. Cloud Apollo 3-2. Cullen Chisholm scored the winning goal in overtime as well as a previous goal. The other goal was by Kyle Erickson. Team captains are Erickson, Zachary Jacobson and Shawn Sullivan. The Sartell boys’ team competed at the state level once before, in 2011.
An interesting fact is that a brother and sister – Zach and Abby Spanier – will both be competing at state.
Head coach Matt Hager said hard work, lots of practice and seamless teamwork led to the Sabre boys success throughout this season.
After their wins, both teams celebrated during the Soccer Banquet at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.
“I was crying I was so happy for the girls,” said Head Coach Cassie Raehsler. “It was amazing. They are such hard workers and have some of the best team chemistry on teams I’ve ever coached. They played with a lot of heart. And the parents were so supportive through the whole process and through the whole season.”
This is Raehsler’s first season as Sabre girls’ soccer coach. She was hired in July after long-time coach Joe Perske retired from that position. A Sartell native, Raehsler had played soccer all through her Sartell school years.
Raehsler said she has her own style of coaching, which is different from that of former coach Perske, but the girls adapted quickly.
“The girls trusted in the coaching staff and believed strongly in what we were trying to do,” she said. “They had a great attitude from the get-go.”
As of press time Wednesday, the Sartell Sabre girls’ soccer team was slated to play Blake Academy at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Husky Stadium, and the boys were scheduled to play Rochester Lourdes at 7:30 p.m. at St. Louis Park High School.
The winners of the quarter-final games will face off Oct. 28-31 inside the Metrodome. The Class A girls will compete in the semi-finals at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 28, and the Class A boys will follow at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
On Tuesday, Oct. 29, the Class A boys will play their third-place game at 8 a.m., followed by the Class A girls’ third-place game at 10 a.m.
Finally, on Thursday, Oct. 31, the Class A boys’ championship game will start at 12:30 p.m., followed by the girls’ championship at 3 p.m.
The championship matches will be webcast live and free on www.Prep45.com.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.