By KYLE MANTHE
Special to TopSports.news
Sometimes a scoreboard or a box score doesn’t tell the full story of a game.
That was the case Thursday night as Seaman soccer’s season was ended by back-to-back Class 5A state champions St. Thomas Aquinas, 4-1, in the regional championship at Seaman.
Seaman coach Tim Nussbaum and the Vikings know firsthand the challenges that come with facing a powerhouse Aquinas team after they were defeated 7-0 last season. Which is why Nussbaum was pleased with the fight of his team on Thursday.
“The effort was outstanding, I give the effort a 10/10. There for a while it was 2-1 and we were pushing and pushing, I thought we were right in it and had a couple of opportunities I thought it could be 2-2,” Nussbaum said. “I think we just kind of broke at the end, the floodgates kind of opened at the end, it was 2-1 then 3-1, 4-1 so the game was more of a 2-1, 2-2 game, but there is a reason why they are continuously highly ranked.”
For 77 minutes the game was within two goals, and for 68 of those the Vikings tied or trailed by just a goal. Two goals against a pressing Seaman team in the final three minutes weighed down the final score.
With a 14-2-2 final record the Vikings added three wins to last season's total, all while losing senior captain Carstyn Anderson to injury early in the season.
“We could have 100% used her on the field, she is a leader in every sense of the word and she’s led beautifully on the bench … we are going to miss our seniors like crazy … they are great young ladies and are pretty darn good soccer players,” Nussbaum said. “14-2-2 is a huge improvement on last season and we are just going to keep growing.”
For nearly 30 minutes the match was tied, Aquinas with more opportunities on offense but no goals until the 10:38 mark in the first half. Sophomore Anisten Cabantac connected with senior Sydney Watts to score the first goal.
The same duo connected again, with Watts breaking out past the defense and scoring again with 31:32 left in the match.
Seaman’s aggression picked up from there and it paid off as senior Jaycee Schumann got two tries on goal, the first attempt was deflected out and her second she made sure not to miss, depositing it into the left corner of the goal to pull within one at the 22:35 mark.
The Vikings' risky defense and aggressive attacks resulted in a few more attempts over the next 20 minutes but did not bring a second goal. With 2:40 left in the match junior Maggie OKeefe scored on a third assist from Cabantac, and 13 seconds later Watts completed a hat trick after stealing a pass, making it 4-1.
“You know the game, I was hoping we could isolate the outside backs a little better, take it inline a little better and cross it and find space … but we are just going to keep building from here,” Nussbaum said. “We are going to use all these youngsters … they got tons of varsity time and are a talented young core so they are going to be firing next year.”
St. Thomas Aquinas (15-2-1) outshot Seaman 25-6 in the game. Sophomore Maegan Mills stopped 11 of those shots for saves for the Vikings. Junior Maggie Payne had two saves for the Saints.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 4, SEAMAN 1
St. Thomas Aquinas (15-2-1) 1 3 – 4
Seaman (14-2-2) 0 1 – 1
St. Thomas Aquinas – Goals: Watts 3, Okeefe. Assists: Cabantac 3
Seaman – Goals: Schumann.