MADISON — The Sun Prairie Girls soccer team had a tough time with Madison West on Thursday night, falling 2-1.
“It was a big game for us,” said SPHS head coach Matt Cleveland. “Unfortunately, the West game was on the heels of a bigger game with Middleton.”
The Cardinals (7-4-3 overall, 6-2-1 Big Eight) started out confident in their play, quickly taking possession and getting on the board on a Grace Aughey in the 14th minute, firing a shot, unassisted, that whizzed past the Regent goalkeeper and into the side net at 13:52.
“We got the first goal,” said Cleveland. “Grace Aughey did a lot of work to get the shot off.”
With quite a bit of back-and-forth play, Sun Prairie maintained the 1-0 advantage into halftime.
“We talked at half about cleaning up the play” and using roster depth with “a goal to get all our players on the field,” commented Cleveland.
But the second half didn’t play out like the first, and neither did the Cardinals’ plans. The Regents took a corner in the 53rd minute that dropped right into the box. Sun Prairie netminder Molly Schulz tried to field it, but was unable to clear it out of the scrum.
“You couldn’t really see what was happening — it was a mad scramble,” remarked Cleveland. “A West player was able to run in and score from about 2 feet from the goal line.”
Momentum shifted quickly for the Regents (6-2-1) in the next two minutes. A Sun Prairie foul from about 25 yards out gave West a penalty kick and a game-winning set play.
“It was another scramble in the box, and West got to it first to score.” Cleveland continued. “It became a mental game for us. We didn’t have the opportunities, and it just wasn’t going right for us (in the second half) It was a different kind of game.”
Sun Prairie received a No. 3 seed in the WIAA playoffs and will host No. 14 Madison La Follette in a regional opener on Tuesday, May 25.
The Cardinals defeated the Lancers 6-1 in Big Eight play on May 6.
Sun Prairie has two non-conference games to end their regular season. The Cardinals travel to DeForest for a 6:45 game on Tuesday, and then host Watertown for Senior Night on Thursday with play beginning at 7 p.m.
MADISON WEST 2, SUN PRAIRIE 1
Sun Prairie 1 0 — 1
Madison West 0 2 — 2
First half: SP — Aughey (un), 13:52.
Second half: MW — Thompson (un), 52:50; Bremel (un), 54:14.
Goalies: SP (Buenger 2, Schulz 2) 4; MW (Kettleson) 5.