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U16 soccer team wins state title

The Worthington U16 boys soccer team is a state champion.

U16 soccer champs
The Worthington U16 boys soccer team poses after winning a state championship last weekend. Coach Kody Honius (back row left) said the boys are showing that there's more excellent soccer coming up in the ranks. (Submitted photo)

WORTHINGTON -- Anyone questioning whether the future of Worthington boys soccer is sound needn’t worry. The local U16 team captured a state championship over the weekend.

Worthington defeated Fusion 6-0 on Friday and IGH Heat 2-1 on Saturday in Coon Rapids. Then on Sunday morning at 8 a.m., the locals edged Minnesota Valley on penalty kicks at Maple Grove. In the championship at 12:30 p.m. Sunday also at Maple Grove, they shut out Wright County 5-0.

“They were very excited. It was good to see them work together and fight through,” said coach Kody Honius. “The third match was really intense for us. I think it really pumped them up for the finals.”

In the shutout over Fusion, Jonathan Benegas had three goals while Osmin Pineda, Ojha Ojha and Alan Flores all had one. Benagas and Jonathan Sandoval scored in the win over IGH Heat.

The game against Minnesota Valley was a toughie. It ended 2-2 in regulation as Worthington players Flores and Pineda found the net. Neither team scored in overtime, so they went to penalty kicks. Worthington converted all five of its penalty shots and Minnesota Valley made its first four. But on the fifth, goalkeeper Ricky Rodriguez came up with a block.

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Worthington’s defense was outstanding in the final, and the offense scored more than enough goals to win the title. Peda Zeba, Benegas, Isaiah Noble (with a corner kick), Jonathan Pineda and Erick Fuentes (on a penalty kick) scored one time each.

Honius describes the Worthington team as defensive-minded.

“We kind of try to put a lot of emphasis on our defense, and just use counter attacks and working with everybody on the field to create offense from our defense,” he said.

The Worthington Trojans boys soccer team has played in the high school state tournament in each of the last two years. The U16 team’s summer performance, believes Honius, fares well for the future.

“This last year we had the high school kids, but now we have a whole ‘nother bunch of kids in middle school and high school underclassmen,” he said.

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Tom Goehle, son of legendary coach Hugo Goehle, was once a star athlete at Hills-Beaver Creek High School. Now he gives back through coaching and his involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes.