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Adapted soccer: Thunderbolts sitting tied for conference lead

Heading down the homestretch, the South Washington County Thunderbolts adapted soccer team is one of the top teams in its league.

The Thunderbolts (6-0-1) are currently tied with Burnsville/Lakeville/Prior Lake atop the South CI Conference after a hard-fought, come-from-behind 4-4 tie with the Blazin’ Cats.

Down 3-0 early in the Oct. 23 meeting at East Ridge High School, Lucas Fiedler took a hard over half-court shot at the Cats goal; The goalie whiffed on his kick and the ball went in. Thunderbolts were down 4-1, but outscored the Cats 3-0 during the second half. Tristan Rankin’s goal 2 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the second half capped a gritty comeback.

“We are really playing well,” Thunderbolts’ head coach John Culbertson said. “We have a great team camaraderie and are believing in each other and playing for each other. Our motto this year is ‘we-not-me’.”

On the year, the Thunderbolts are scoring an average of 10 goals per game, while allowing an average of 3 goals per game. The team’s leading scorers are: Dylan Kubitschek, Tristan Rankin and team captain Amanda Henderson.

Culbertson said the team has also had “fantastic defensive work all season” by: Austin Sager, Casey Murnan, Lucas Fiedler, and team captain John Stutelberg.

However, Culbertson said the “MVP so far” has been Thunderbolts goalie TJ Jarosiewicz.

“He was the reason we defeated conference rival Dakota United 5-3 for the first time in six years,” Culbertson said.

Other highlights on the year, according to Culbertson, include: Kubitschek scoring six goals in the season opener against St. Paul Johnson; Rankin’s balanced scoring, passing and support of his defense, and Henderson’s four-goal against Tartan/North St. Paul.

“The season has been driven by our desire to win a conference championship, advance to state, and come home with more than just a trophy, but a medal or ribbon of some color around our necks,” Culbertson said.

The Thunderbolts finish the regular season this week. The team was at Minneapolis Edison on Monday, Oct. 28, after the Bulletin went to print, then closes the season on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Humboldt High School.

—Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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