When the defending state champs are in your house, there’s always pressure.
The Waunakee boys’ soccer team welcomed Oregon – last year’s Division 2 state champs – into Waunakee Soccer Stadium tonight and came out with a big 3-0 victory over the Panthers.
“It feels great,” said Waunakee forward Sam Acker, who scored twice in the victory. “We got to prove ourselves tonight and show what we’re about to the defending state champs.”
Despite the game’s start time pushed up 90 minutes due to impending weather, both teams were more than ready to go at the game’s opening whistle.
In the game’s first six minutes, Waunakee’s keeper Joey Fuhremann made a pair of saves, while the Warrior offense threatened Oregon’s goal with two corner kicks. Neither found the back of the net, however, and the teams settled into their gameplans.
From his spot on the right side of Waunakee’s attack, Acker broke the game wide starting at the 14-minute mark; the Waunakee forward scored two goals – one assisted by Mason Lee and the other by Cole Kettner – over the span of three minutes to give the Warriors a significant early advantage.
“They didn’t defend me on the backside when the ball was on the other side, so I had the whole box to myself,” said Acker. “It was just me vs. the keeper; it got past him… It was huge. We swung the momentum towards our side, and we carried it throughout the game.””
The Panthers kept finding ways around the Warriors defense to pepper Waunakee’s goal with shots, but Fuhremann turned all of them away in the first half. Waunakee’s goalie made a total of eight saves before halftime.
The Warriors continued to attack as the second half began, but their pressure gradually gave way, as much of the first 30 minutes were spent on Waunakee’s end of the field.
The Warrior defense kept their composure, allowing only two shots to reach Fuhremann – who saved both – before the 80-minute mark.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Oregon’s attack became increasingly desperate to close the gap, but Waunakee’s defense held firm.
Though the Panthers held a distinct advantage in scoring chances – putting 10 shots on goal compared to Waunakee’s six – the Warriors were considerably more effective at finishing.
Mason Miller capped the game’s scoring, putting Waunakee up by three goals with a goal of his own in the 89th minute. Oregon was unable to find the back of the net in the final minute, and the 3-0 score went final.
“The boys played well tonight; we’re starting to possess the ball better, moving it around better,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Dave Kettner. “The defensive unit is starting to gel the way you would expect them to gel at this time of year.”
Waunakee (4-3-1) will play a pair of games over the weekend at Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells before returning home for a Badger North contest against Beaver Dam. Start time at Waunakee Soccer Stadium on Tuesday against the Golden Beavers is scheduled for 7 p.m.