Check out the post-tournament press conference with Coach Zac Ganzer and team captains Deagan Barber and Mason Wartner.
Excelsior Springs Tiger Soccer Team has dominated another season on the field. With massive wins against all the district teams, including forcing Chillicothe into an 8-0 mercy rule in the district semifinals and a win over Bishop leBond for the district title, the 3rd in a row that the Excelsior Springs Tigers have taken and the 5th of all time. Even up until Districts, they managed a 7-game win streak, leading them to the quarter-final game against Harrisonville.
In the quarterfinal game, with Ganzer as the coach, the players took the field on November 11th with one goal: keep the streak up. With the team’s chemistry and determination at a high, they did just that against Harrisonville, winning 3-1 to advance to the Missouri State Semifinals in Fenton, Missouri.
On their way out of the school on Thursday, The Excelsior Springs Tigers Drumline gave them a roaring sendoff as they walked through the halls. They confidently made their way to the charter bus waiting outside. The police started their sirens and escorted them through the rest of the schools before they hit the road onto Fenton.
On November 19th, The Tigers took to the pitch to face off against the Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats. The Excelsior Team got stretched as they prepared to play their hearts out against Westminster. The first half was brutal for the Tigers, falling behind 3-0 on three quick goals by the Wildcats. During the second half, The Tigers managed to keep the Wildcats at bay but could not muster a goal and lost the game 3-0. Reflecting on the match, senior Mason Wartner said, “The intensity of the game was slow, no talking, everyone was sluggish.”
The next day, the Tigers played the 3rd place game against The Orchard Farm Eagles. The Tigers knew what they did wrong the previous day and headed into the game with a determination. The first half of the game looked like another heartbreak as The Eagles took an early two-point lead. But the Tigers didn’t let it get to them, and a phenomenal penalty kick from Mason Wartner put The Tigers on the board and ready for the second half of the game, trailing just 2-1.
The Tigers started their second half strong, holding the Eagles from scoring and even landing another goal from Wartner with an assist from Austin Collins to tie the game. Both teams played a strong defense in the second half, keeping the game a nail-biter until the last 7 minutes when The Eagles managed to sneak a goal in. Unfortunately, while The Tigers continued to play hard, they were unable to score and fell to the Orchard Farm Eagles 3-2.
Excelsior Springs still ended up in the top 16 teams of the state and the top 4 in their division. The Excelsior Springs Tigers had their third back-to-back state qualifier. Coach Zac Ganzer says the future for the Tiger soccer team remains bright, with a large group of incoming freshmen and a strong core of returning players next year.
Congratulations once again to Coach Ganzer and Mackenzie as well as all of the state-playing Tigers: Deagan Barber, Ryan Crain, Austin Collins, Grayson Grove, Logan Houston, Shia Hyche, Elijah Ishmael, Kolin Kincaid, Noah Nedblake, Mason Wartner, Easton Ryan, Brady Schoonover, Drake Simontis, Theo Stuhrmann, Braedyn Sejkora, Jacob Zapataand, Goalies Jaxson Hellyer and Brett Jones.