After last week’s near-comeback against top-ranked Kettle Moraine, the Waunakee boys’ lacrosse team felt they had some momentum.
When they welcomed Arrowhead – ranked second in the state – to Warrior Stadium, it became obvious that the Warriors were firing on all cylinders. Waunakee upset the Warhawks in a dominant performance, earning their 10th victory of the season.
Early, it looked like the Warriors were in store for a battle. Through eight minutes, the two teams were tied at one, with Waunakee’s lone goal coming from Jarrett Wulf.
Arrowhead had a handful of chances on their offensive end, but were stymied time after time by Ray Olkowski.
“Our goaltender made a lot of good saves early on,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Mike Reiter.
It was with four minutes left in the first when the floodgates finally opened for the Warriors. After Wulf scored his second goal of the game to put Waunakee up 2-1, everything started to click. Starting with Wulf’s goal, the Warriors scored six straight – two from Wulf, Clayton Cerett twice, and one each from Jack Gengler and Nick Robson – to take a commanding 7-1 lead.
“Our kids really came out with an intensity and a fire that said, ‘You’re not coming into our house to win,’” Reiter added.
The Warhawks finally managed to get their offense going late in the second, netting a pair of goals in the final 95 seconds to make it a 7-3 game by halftime.
Both defenses took center stage coming out of the break, as only two combined goals were allowed the entire 12-minute period.
“I think our defense played one of their best games of the year…” said Reiter. “When we play teams that are a little bit more skilled and we play well, it gives them a ton of confidence.”
With an 8-4 lead to open the fourth quarter, Waunakee’s offense slammed the door shut on any potential comeback the Warhawks had in mind. Thomas Meffert, Isaac Schaaf and Gengler each scored in the first five minutes of the quarter to make it a six-goal game.
After Arrowhead cut into the lead, Cerett and Zach Samson scored within a minute of each other to make it 13-5.
At that point, the game was all but over. The Warhawks managed to find the back of the net twice more in the remainder of the game, but Gengler’s goal with 56 seconds left capped the upset for the Warriors.
Cerett led the team with four goals, followed by Gengler and Wulf, who each scored three. Robson, Samson, Meffert and Schaaf rounded out the scoring with one goal apiece. Cerett and Luke Reiter were both tops on the team with three assists, as well.
Olkowski saved five shots on the night to earn the win in goal, and benefited from some stellar defensive play
“[Arrowhead] had a lot of turnovers…” Reiter said. “They’ve got an All-American kid [Will Lauterbach] who’s capable of scoring 10 goals and he had one goal at the end. That was it.”
Waunakee followed up their upset win with a road trip to Rockford to take on an equally, if not more talented team in the Rockford Rams.
Defensively, Waunakee’s performance was as good as ever.
The Warriors never allowed Rockford to score more than once in any quarter on Saturday. Rockford’s defense, however, proved to be an equal match for the Warriors.
Although Waunakee’s offense got off to a good start – scoring twice in the first and once in the second – they weren’t able to find the back of the net at all in the second half.
After holding one-goal leads at the end of the first and second quarters, the score was tied after three.
Rockford scored just once in the fourth quarter, but it was enough to secure a tight win against the Warriors.
Schaaf led Waunake with two goals on the day, followed by Meffert with one. Olkowski had another five-save game in goal.
With their record now 10-7 (7-1 Big Badger), the Warriors hit the road again on Tuesday to play at Stoughton, the results of which were not available for this week’s edition. Waunakee returns home on Thursday, when they’ll take on Sun Prairie. Start time at Warrior Stadium is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.