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Eric Peterson, Published November 11 2010

Cobber soccer: 7 successful seasons, Cobbers senior trio completing careers together

They describe each other as having three distinct personalities – sarcastic, confident and innocent.

They play three different positions on the soccer field – forward, midfielder and defender.

“But at the end of the day, it’s like we’re all great friends,” Concordia senior midfielder Sue Obermiller said.

They do, however, have one thing in common.

They win.

Sam Johnson, Erika Swenson and Obermiller have been starters on the same soccer team for seven consecutive seasons. They started together in their final three years at Fargo North High School, and all are in their fourth year as starters for Concordia.

“That’s so long,” said Johnson, a forward. “I can’t believe there is not going to be next season.”

In those seven seasons, the teams the trio has played on have compiled a 105-24-10 record, a .791 winning percentage. In high school, they played in two state title games and won one championship.

“You want players that have a winning mentality and who have played in pressure games,” Cobbers coach Dan Weiler said. “Certainly all three of these girls had that.”

At Concordia, they have been part of two Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season titles, two MIAC playoff championships and three NCAA Division III national tournament berths.

“I think it shows you the heart they have for the game,” said North coach Cordell Sinding, who coached all three in high school. “It’s pretty cool.”

The Cobbers (11-4-4) play Northwestern (Minn.) at 5 p.m. Friday in the first round of the Division III tournament at Macalester – the final chapter for the trio in what has been a memorable seven-season journey.

“We’ve already cried a lot,” said Swenson, who plays defense.

All three were named to the All-MIAC first team on Wednesday.

“I’m going to miss seeing them every day,” said Johnson, who has played with Swenson since around age 10 and Obermiller since around age 5. “You see them every day in practice.”

Johnson – who leads the Cobbers in scoring this season with 32 points, including a team-high 13 goals – is the sarcastic one, according to Obermiller and Swenson.

Johnson said Obermiller is “not cocky, but she’s confident.” Obermiller leads the team with 10 assists and is third with 24 points.

Obermiller described Swenson as “innocent, but also like the enforcer.” A stellar defender, Swenson feels bad when she knocks down opponents on strong challenges.

“I stopped saying, ‘Sorry,’ ” Swenson said.

“That’s good,” Johnson cracked.

Johnson, Obermiller and Swenson agreed their strong bond is indicative of the entire team – from the 10-player senior class down to the freshmen.

“We have just such a team chemistry,” said Johnson. “We realize how important each person is.”

After the final game of each season, it’s tradition that the seniors get carried off the field by the team’s underclassmen. The senior class may not go gently.

“They’re going to have to like drag us off because we are going to be clinging to the blades of grass because we don’t want to leave,” Swenson said with a laugh. “Good luck for them this year. There are like 10 of us.”

Concordia’s triple threat

The year-by-year records for Concordia senior women’s soccer players Sam Johnson, Sue Obermiller and Erika Swenson over the past seven seasons:

Year School Record

2010 Concordia 11-4-4

2009 Concordia 18-1-2

2008 Concordia 12-5-3

2007 (fall) Concordia 16-4-1

College record 57-14-8

2007 (spring) Fargo North 14-2-1

2006 Fargo North 18-3-0

2005 Fargo North 16-5-1

High school record 48-10-2

Overall record 105-24-10

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com