South Sioux City will play in the Class A state tournament on Thursday.
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, NE (KTIV) -
In Class B, South Sioux City advanced to six boys state soccer tournaments in seven years. After making the move to Class A, there were doubts the Cardinals success would continue. However, they crushed the competition posting 12 shutouts, the most in their new class.
With just three returners, there were plenty of doubters in Nebraska. The noise was all too familiar.
"It was the same thing last year since a lot of seniors left last year, too," senior Ramon Torres said. "A lot of people talk smack and they're talking smack again, like we don't belong in Class A. We won in Class B because it's easier and that we wouldn't win in Class A."
"I think a lot of other people were concerned because we were graduating 12 seniors and there were two or three key players that had been on the team for three or four years," Head Coach Marla Grier added.
An early season setback to Class B's Omaha Skutt proved to be an unlikely catalyst.
"One of the boys looked at me and said 'We really could be good.' And, it was like yeah, you're right. We could," added Grier. "It was like an "ah-ha" moment. It was exciting to watch them really dig down, work hard and figure out how to put it all together.
The Cards caught fire and now enter the state tournament as the hottest team in Class A, riding a 15-game winning streak.
"We weren't sure of anything," senior Jorge Lopez said. "We didn't know where anybody was going to play or how the whole formation was going to be. Then, when we figured it out, it was like 'Yes, we're going to go far with this team.'"
But the job isn't done yet.
"Being a senior and going out a state champion, I mean, winning it last year felt amazing being the first team from South Sioux to win. I just want to go out a champion," Lopez continued.
"We proved all those people wrong. We like to prove all those people wrong and we're going to prove them wrong again at state," said Torres.
The Cardinals open the state tournament Thursday against Lincoln East at 3 o'clock. All games are at Creighton University in Omaha.
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