By: Geiler Damian, Reporter
OMAHA, Neb. – As Winter begins to fade away, a new high school soccer season is visible on the horizon.
The Gretna Dragons, commanded by head coach Tyler Ortlieb, had a fantastic season last year. With an overall of 20-2, Gretna was crowned as state champions after a record 8-nil victory against the Westside Warriors.
Coach Ortlieb said that Gretna had a great season but also had a luck charm. “It was kind of nice to not run into Omaha South in a Semi-final because all the years before that, that’s whom we lost to,” Ortlieb said.
Gretna had lost to Omaha South twice in the 2018-19 and 2020-21 seasons semi-finals with a 4-nil, and a 3-1, respectively.
Once in the final, the Dragons were up 1-nil when Westside’s best defender Luke Noameshie, saw a red card after a tackle from behind just outside the box. From there, Westside, who had also lost one of its most important strikers after seeing a red card in the semi-finals against Bryan, crumbled to the ground. Gretna tore Westside in the largest margin of defeat in a boys’ state final and matched the most goals in a Championship match in Nebraska history.
For the new season, coach Ortlieb said the expectations are clear for Gretna. They want to win back-to-back titles. The Dragons will attempt to do so with the help of its senior star strikers Maguire Perkins who scored 25 goals last season and Michael Stukenholtz who netted the ball 20 times.
Mike Dean, Westside’s soccer head coach said that despite the bad result in the final, last season was a huge step in the right direction.
“I think the best thing that has kind of rolled over was the leadership,” Dean said. “We had juniors now seniors this year that wanted to take that mantle.”
Dean said the commitment and motivation of his players are outstanding and they are ready to prove how much they want to win.
Gretna will have its opening game on March 17th against Lexington, while Westside will start its season by visiting Burke on March 16th.
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