'Rockers continue to grow as a team, program
Release Date Monday, November 18, 2013

The 2013 Hardrocker soccer season marked the program’s second year of existence and first year in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The ‘Rockers made great strides to move forward since the team’s conception in 2012. The team grew with experience, enhanced the program with recruits, competed against stronger opponents and strengthened the team’s chemistry and cohesiveness.  

Impact players and key contributors for the squad were GNAC second team All-Conference player Andreas Skau, honorable mention All-Conference players Mike McGraw and Tim Tribbett and GNAC Academic All-Conference player Gabe Dahmke.

In addition to those who were recognized by the GNAC, sophomore Derek Szanto and freshmen David Cabrera, Nate Fricke and Brandon Lind made their presence known on the field early in the season as well.

Midway through the year, sophomore Sam LeTempt and freshman Erik Fenske proved their value to the program solidifying starting spots on the pitch.

The Hardrockers say goodbye to one senior as Garrett Frederick will graduate in December. Frederick is a Mechanical Engineering major who found his passion in the CAMP Lab and on the soccer field. He has been instrumental in the beginning phases of the program. Frederick’s hard work has paid dividend as he has accepted a full-time position with Garmin Corporation in Olathe, Kans.

 “Garrett’s dedication, leadership, inspiration, hard work and friendship were instrumental in the beginning of the Hardrocker soccer program. A special thank you goes out from the Rapid City Community, the University, the Hardrocker soccer coaching staff and teammates,” said Hardrocker soccer head coach Joe Burger.

The SD Mines coaching staff took advantage of as many educational opportunities while on the road as possible. During the team’s trip to Seattle, Wash., the team had the chance to tour the Boeing factory, meet with SD Mines alumni who work for Boeing, explore downtown Seattle’s Pike’s Market and Space Needle. While in Bellingham, Wash., the team had fun in the downtown area and Boulevard Park on the boardwalk.

Conference play was new and uncharted territory for the ‘Rockers as the team became a new affiliate members of the GNAC. Although, the ‘Rocker soccer team ended the season with a 0-16-1 record, the team’s quality brand of soccer was very competitive and appreciated around the league.

“We did not want to sacrifice our style of soccer for a few wins early in our development. We have a long term vision for this program and it starts by playing fun attractive soccer,” Burger said. “We want to connect passes, keep good shape defensively and offensively, be organized and disciplined, create chances through the run of play and be competitive. Wins will come. We have to be patient and keep working hard.”

In the first ever conference game against Seattle Pacific University, the Hardrockers put on a determined defensive effort limiting the Falcons to a 2-1 victory. This game marked the first goal of the season for the Hardrockers. SPU went on to finish second in the conference with a record of 10-1-3 and received an at large bid into the NCAA Division II Championships. In the second meeting in October, the teams were deadlocked at 0-0 until the 85th minute. SPU was awarded a penalty kick and converted the opportunity to win, 1-0.

SD Mines was extremely competitive with Western Washington University in their two meetings as well. On Sept. 28, the Hardrockers traveled to Bellingham, Wash. to take on the Vikings. The game was intense ending 2-1 in favor of WWU. With 14 seconds left in the game, the Hardrockers earned a corner kick, and with four seconds remaining, goalkeeper Tim Tribbett made good contact with the ball beating the WWU keeper only to be saved off of the line by a Vikings defender.

The rematch proved to be even closer. The game was, 0-0, for a majority of the game. With 26 seconds remaining, WWU took advantage of a missed clearance and slotted the ball away. Had the ‘Rockers’ been able to hang on for 26 more seconds the game would have gone into overtime.

The best game of the year and the team’s first result came on Oct. 31 against Montana State-Billings. The Hardrockers struck first in the 26th minute when McGraw converted a chance created by Skau. The Hardrockers battled to keep the Yellowjackets off the scoreboard, but in the 67th minute of the game MSUB netted one to even the score.  At the end of regulation, the two sides went into overtime. After 120 minutes of soccer the score was still 1-1 ending the game in a tie.

The Hardrocker coaches have plans to improve for the 2014 season. With the addition of medical redshirt freshman CJ Zuraitis and redshirt freshman Perry Chesebro, the team will be returning at full strength. SD Mines also looks forward to the return of rising sophomore Max McGrath who suffered a severe concussion in the eighth game of the year against Northwest Nazarene University, holding him out the remainder of the 2013 season. McGrath only participating in half the season but was second in points for the Hardrockers with a goal and an assist.

As the team is now well-seasoned the expectations are higher for next year. The program continues to strive to improve through work in the weight room, spring season and individual training, and in the recruiting process.

 

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