For head coach Randy Becker and his Monona Grove High School boys soccer team, beating McFarland seemed like an impossible dream.
Entering its Sept. 3 game against the visiting Spartans, the Silver Eagles had not beaten McFarland since 2011. After that, MG went 0-5-1 against its border rivals.
That all changed when Isaac Becker and Zach Zielke both had a goal and an assist to help the Silver Eagles roll past the Spartans 5-1 in a non-conference game.
“This is the first time we’ve beaten them since I’ve been coach,” Randy Becker said. “We had to reach some high goals to pull out a win tonight.”
The Spartans won their season opener over Madison Memorial and finished in a tie with Sun Prairie before taking on MG, which beat DeForest and lost to Madison East at Breese Stevens Field.
Randy Becker tweaked the lineup after the Madison East defeat by putting Zielke at forward with Isaac Becker, John Jahn on the defensive line and Daniel Grady and Connor Bracken in midfield positions.
The formula worked as MG grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute when a ball was inadvertently deflected into the net by one of the McFarland players.
Bracken made it a two-goal lead in the 26th minute off Zielke’s assist. Becker and Grady tallied unassisted goals in the opening 11 minutes of the second half, before McFarland freshman Mason Brown spoiled the shutout with a header into the net off a feed from Brett Connor in the 75th minute. MG got that goal back two minutes later as Zielke scored off Becker’s assist.
McFarland played most of the game without head coach Brett Ogorzalek, who was ejected in the first half after an apparent dispute with officials.
Assistant coach Aaron Ziegler took over with the team trailing 2-0, but he couldn’t change the complexion of the game even though the Spartans outshot the Silver Eagles 13-9.
“The team just mentally wasn’t there. After (Ogorzalek’s ejection), it was kind of the tipping point,” Ziegler said. “MG played a very physical game and did a good job shutting down some of our weapons.”
McFarland keeper Matt Schutt allowed all five goals and saved three shots. MG goalie Jake Havertape made four stops.
“When MG had their chances, they finished,” Ziegler said. “Matt was kind of in the shooting gallery tonight.”
Isaac Becker said the victory proved the Silver Eagles have a good team that should be recognized in the Division 2 state rankings.
“We were pumped up and knew we were going to beat them,” he said. “We showed we are good and this will build up team confidence. We’ll just keep moving forward.”
McFarland has qualified twice for the WIAA Division 3 state tournament since Ogorzalek took over as head coach in 2013.
Last season, the team defeated Plymouth in the state semifinal title game at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee but lost 3-1 to Milwaukee Pius in the championship match.