Championship bound: BVS advances in state tournament

The boys varsity soccer team heads to the state final for the first time in 10 years.

After a 6-0 performance against St. Cloud Cathedral in the quarter-finals on Oct. 27, the fourth-seeded Spartans continued their domination of the class A bracket last night at the U.S. Bank Stadium against Maranatha Christian Academy.

When unseeded Maranatha Christian Academy upset top-ranked Southwest Christian in a 3-2 quarterfinal game, the Spartans knew they would have tough competition in the semi-finals.

“We knew that they had nothing to lose and would go all out. We were focused on training and as a team, we all knew not to underestimate Maranatha and that showed in the game,” captain Yash Kshirsagar said.

Having never played the Mustangs before, the team was ready to bring their A-game. Right off the bat, that is exactly what they did. After a well-placed corner kick by Kshirsagar, defender Finn Sullivan executed a perfect close-range shot. Within the first two minutes, the Spartans were already up 1-0, setting the tone for an exciting and high-scoring game.

Less than ten minutes later, Kshirsagar had a goal of his own. Off of an assist by midfielder Orion Kim, Kshirsagar effortlessly passed Mustang defenders and quickly fired off a shot into the top left corner of the goal.

After Kshirsagar’s second goal of the evening in the 38th minute and another by captain Nathan Cohen, the Spartans led 4-0 at half-time.

Though the Spartans were dominating in offensive play, the Mustangs were a solid team and were able to put pressure on the defensive line. Still, whenever the ball entered their half, defenders Cohen, Sullivan, Arlo Zirps and Ben Chen deflected any pressure. The team could always count on Cohen, the foundation of the Spartans’ defense, to quickly cut off offensive runs and goalie Cooper Olson to make key saves.

Organization, selflessness with the ball and communication were crucial to the Spartans’ win. The team chemistry showed greatly on the field as midfielders Kshirsagar, Orion Kim, Awaale Osman and Tommy Verhey connected well and used short passes to navigate pressure in the center of the field. Once the team got through the middle, forwards Ezra Straub, Cooper Bollinger Danielson and Simon Assefa used their agility and strong foot skills to attack the goal, with Straub assisting on two goals and Bollinger Danielson getting his own in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Verhey scored the Spartans’ final goal in the 60th minute.

It feels amazing to be in a position to write history for this program, especially as a captain.

— Yash Kshirsagar

Even after starters were taken off the field late in the second half, the team kept their momentum going and showed a deep level of trust in each other. When the clock ran out, cheers echoed from the stands and the Spartans got another 6-0 win to take them to the finals. With many seniors on the team, this opportunity is even more meaningful.

“I know [the final] is going to be the last time I play a game with these boys so I’m going to enjoy every minute of it but it feels amazing to be in a position to write history for this program, especially as a captain,” Kshirsagar said.

With a 9-game winning streak, the Spartans will take on unseeded St. Anthony Village in the championship game at the U.S. Bank Stadium on Friday night at 7:15 p.m. All tickets must be pre-purchased through this link.