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Soccer Warriors

Courtesy Shanda Hall

SCHUYLER — Soccer has become a family and community affair in Schuyler. That’s what happens when you advance to the state tournament for the sixth time in sevens seasons.

“Soccer has become very important to our community,” head coach Lyn Beebe said.

On the eve of the 2017 tournament — the Warriors will face Lutheran High Northeast/Norfolk Catholic tomorrow — Schuyler will look to win for the sixth time in the first round. The school has advanced to the state finals twice, the last in 2011, but never won a championship.

That said, getting there is part of the battle, too. And, these Warriors have been tested as they bring a 17-2 record to state and are ranked fourth in Class B by the Omaha World-Herald.

They have done it by battling adversity most of the way both on and off the field.

Danilo Ramirez. (Photo courtesy Shanda Hall)

As Schuyler athletic director Jim Kasik brilliantly pointed out last week in his piece “What It Means to be a Schuyler Warrior” just playing a game without being taunted by fans or opposing players is a win most of the time, given the makeup of the team and school district in Schuyler which nears 80% Hispanic.

“What about our athletes,” Kasik wrote. “They are called racist names; they are spit on by opponents and told to go back home or wait until Trump builds a wall.”

So, yeah, going 17-2 is secondary, but also a source of pride in Schuyler.

And, on the field, Beebe said the team has done a marvelous job of overcoming injuries and illness.

“I think we have played and battled really well all season,” Beebe said. “We have had to play some guys out of position, have had to bring in some second line players but I think it has made us a stronger team.”

His stat sheet backs up the statement.

The Warriors have used 15 players to score 47 goals on the season led by junior Aldair Castorena who has 10. Seniors Zach Cruz (9), Edgar Romero (7) and Jorge Lara (7) are close behind.

“All of those guys have done a great job all season,” Beebe said. “And our midfielders have done a good job of getting them set up.”

Salvador Roldan (Photo courtesy Shanda Hall)

Add that to a stingy defense led by senior goal keeper Jose Gonzalez who has allowed just 14 goals on 115 shots this season. For good reason, his coach has high praise.

“He’s an all-state keeper,” his coach says, needing few other words to describe the season that Gonzalez has had for Schuyler in 2017.

So, they’ll bus to Omaha on Wednesday, these Warriors and their fans ready for another day with LHNE/NC, who they beat 1-0 just a few weeks ago. Their coach knows they have their hands full.

“They are a heck of a team,” he said. “Very talented from back to front.”

But the Warriors have a community on their side, too. One that has embraced soccer and loves it.

“The community supported a new fieldhouse so we could play year round,” Beebe said. “We have kids playing when they are young in our SYSO league. Our kids play with their dads and brothers and uncles.”

Soccer, you can say, is always making Schuyler just a little bit stronger.


Class A Boys
No. 3 Kearney (17-3) v No. 6 Grand Island (11-6)
Morrison Stadium, Creighton University
Quarterfinals: May 10, 11:00 AM
Semifinals: May 12, 6:00 PM
Finals: May 15, 7:30 PM

The Skinny: The young Bearcats make their eighth trip to state in the past nine seasons with a 1-0 win over Omaha Central in the district final. Coach Scott Steinbrook has just two seniors on the squad, and they are led by sophomore Royce Austen who has 22 goad on the season. The opponent, Grand Island, is familiar and battle tested. They beat the Bearcats in a shootout on April 13 and advanced to state the same way with a shoot out win over Lincoln Southwest. Coach Jeremy Jensen’s team advanced to the state finals in 2011 but is at state after a two year drought.

Class A Boys
No. 5 Millard West (12-7) v No. 4 Lincoln North Star (15-3)
Morrison Stadium, Creighton University
Quarterfinals: May 10, 3:00 PM
Semifinals: May 12, 8:00 PM
Finals: May 15, 7:30 PM

The Skinny: Coach Michael Doria’s team has been battle tested as of late and they head to state on the wild card after losing to Lincoln East in the district final. The Cats have won just five of their past 11 matches but the losses have all come to teams in the state field and also include a pair of losses to Iowa powers Waukee and West Des Moines Valley. It’s the 11th straight trip to state for the Cats who were champs in 2009 and 2015.

Class A Girls
No. 4 Millard West (13-3) v No. 5 Westside (13-5)
Morrison Stadium, Creighton University
Quarterfinals: May 11, 3:00 PM
Semifinals: May 13, 6:00 PM
Finals: May 16, 7:30 PM

The Skinny: The Wildcat girls make their 12th consecutive trip to state where they are four-time champions the most recent coming in 2015. Freshman Reagan Raabe leads the Wildcats with 17 goals on the season and seniors Rachael Baker and Mallory Broady have 10 each. MW won their first eight matches of the season before losing three of four. Since the last loss to Millard North on April 20, they won four straight including three straight shutouts. The Wildcats beat Westside 2-1 in the regular season.

Class B Boys
No. 3 Schuyler (17-2) v No. 6 LHNE/NC (15-3)
Morrison Stadium, Creighton University
Quarterfinals: May 10, 8:00 PM
Semifinals: May 13, 9:00 AM
Finals: May 15, 5:00 PM

The Skinny: The Warriors topped LHNE/NC 1-0 in double overtime on April 27 with a late goal from Adair Castorena. Schuyler makes their sixth trip to state in seven season after losing to second-ranked South Sioux City in sub-districts but bouncing back to top Crete 11-9 to earn a trip to Omaha.

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