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Sports from the week of July 19, 2006

Soccer teaching multiple skills

By Seth Schmidt

The 8-year-old girl charges toward the ball like a cheetah pouncing on a gazelle. Her blonde pigtails bounce in the summer breeze.

An olive-skinned boy with jet-black hair rushes to cut her off. Too late, the blonde nudges the leather ball to a brown-eyed teammate.

On the sidelines, moms and dads robustly cheer, shout suggestions, and occasionally question a call.

Welcome to a typical Saturday soccer game for the Plum Creek Soccer Club. About 120 girls and boys ages 6-16 gather each week on the Tracy Area High School athletic field for soccer.

“It’s fantastic,” says Diane Ferrazzano, a coach in the program.

Most Plum Creek soccer players are from the Tracy or Westbrook/Walnut Grove school districts. Players are divided into teams by age. Teams play intramural games every Saturday, and practice one or two nights every week.

“We want them to have fun playing soccer and also to learn basic soccer skills,” Ferrazzano explains.

The program has also turned out to be a good way for children from different ethnic and economic backgrounds to meet one another, she said. Children of Hmong, Hispanic, and Caucasian heritages—boys and girls—play alongside each other.

“The players on the older teams are almost all Hmong boys,” Ferrazzano said. “But we’ve got a good mix on the younger teams.”

Most of the older Caucasian students who started soccer quit, she said, because the Hmong players tend to be so much more skilled in soccer. Ferrazzano hopes that teaching soccer at an early age will help more children stick with the sport as they grow older.

“Most kids just seem to love soccer,” she said.

If students of different races play soccer together at a young age, Ferrazzano adds, the experience might help break down ethnic barriers that sometimes divide students when they get older

The mingling of Hmong, Hispanic and Anglo parents at soccer sporting events is an added benefit, she said.

The Plum Creek Soccer Club is not directly affiliated with either school district, although some of the older players will be playing on the new high school soccer team that will begin play this fall. The Southwest Minnesota Integration Collaborative, which includes the Tracy, Milroy, Balaton, and Westbrook/Walnut Grove school districts, provides money for the program.

The Plum Creek soccer teams will wrap up their summer season Saturday, with a tournament that begins at about 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend. All games are played on the high school athletic field.

'Fun-n-Run' tourney held

Tracy Milroy Balaton boys’ basketball teams hosted a “Fun-n-Run” basketball tournament, Saturday and Sunday.

Ellsworth the tourney, Kerkhove-Murdock-Sunberg was second, and Russell-Tyler Ruthton placed third. TMB finished fourth, followed by Redwood Valley, Marshall II, Marshall I, and Renville County West. The TMB boys began the day with a victory over Renville County West, before dropping games to KMS and RTR in overtime.

TMB players were Isaac Dolan, Anthony Dolan, Drew Nelson, Andrew Prairie, Ryan Kaup, Spencer Zwaschka, Steven Paradis, Va Xiong, David Schmidt, Taylor Rignell, Nick Soupir, and Corey Warner. John Gervais was unable to play due to an injury. The Panthers were coached by Nat Boyer and Neil Dolan.

In a B-squad tournament Sunday, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton placed firs. Ellsworth finished in second, with the TMB sophomores earning third. Marshall II came in fourth, and a mix of TMB eighth and ninth graders finished fifth, Marshall I ended up in sixth, KMS placed seventh and Redwood Valley ended the day in eighth place.

The TMB sophomores defeated Redwood Valley, lost to Ellsworth, and defeated Marshall II. The TMB eighth and ninth grade team was defeated by RTR, and beat KMS and Marshall I.

Bo Kirsh, Brandon Kirk, Walker Schaar, Paul LeClaire, Kane Zwascha and Travis Apperson were on TMB’s sophomore team, coached by Erik Frisvold and Nat Boyer. The mixed TMB team included Dominic Dolan, Lucas Dolan, Shane Erickson, Josh Soupir, Austin Orren, Aric Carpenter, Brandon Kirsh, and James Fultz. Mark Templeton and Bob Dolan coached the team.

Boyer thanks all volunteers, parents, the TMB Booster Club and game officials who helped with the tournament.

“We would also like to thank the City of Tracy for providing us the opportunity to rent the Veteran’s Memorial Center and helping us to create a great tournament atmosphere,” Boyer said.

Tracy VFW advances in tourney

The Tracy VFW baseball team, with an 8-4 league season record, has been seeded third in the North Division of the Third District Tournament.

Tracy advanced in the tourney with a forfeit victory over 6th seeded Sacred Heart Monday. The tourney is scheduled to continue Thursday and Saturday, but pairings and times had not been announced at press time.

Marshall Blue was seeded first, Redwood Falls second, Tracy third, Granite Falls fourth, Westbrook fifth, Sacred Heart sixth and Olivia seventh.

In the South Division Luverne was the No. 1 seed., Pipestone second, Adrian third, Worthington fourth, Marshall Orange fifth, Slayton sixth, Edgerton seventh and Fulda eighth.

The top seed hosts the Monday games with Redwood Falls hosting the second and third round games in the North and Pipestone hosting the second and third round games to be played Saturday and Sunday in the South.

Tracy concluded their regular season with a doubleheader with Redwood Falls Friday. Redwood won both games, 9-2 and 16-3.