Talk about finishing strong.
Taking on Fort Atkinson and Reedsburg, the Waunakee High School boys’ soccer team blanked both teams by scores of 8-0 and 6-0, respectively, sending the Warriors to the inaugural Badger East Championship game against Monona Grove on a high note.
“We met up with Monona Grove earlier in the season for a 3-0 win, but we are not taking the game for granted,” said Waunakee Head Coach Dave Kettner. “It’s typically hard to beat a team twice in the season in soccer. I expect MG to make some adjustments based on our last game and come out with a level of intensity appropriate for a championship game.”
The Warriors host Monona Grove on the Warrior pitch on Tuesday at 7 p.m. An upcoming game with Madison East, slated for Thursday, Oct. 14, has been canceled. Waunakee will play East in the opening round of regionals on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
Going into the postseason, Waunakee is seeded fifth in the Oconomowoc Sectional for the Division 1 State Playoffs behind Verona (1), Arrowhead (2), Sun Prairie (3) and Kettle Moraine (4). Kettner said that losing to Memorial the Saturday before hurt the Warriors in the overall rankings.
Fort Atkinson 0
Playing at Fort Atkinson for the first time in 11 years, the Warriors cruised, although it took some time to break through with the first goal on Tuesday, Oct. 5.
“Fort Atkinson’s plan from the beginning was to simply play defense and it took us a little while to break through with a goal by (Stepan) Khamenka,” said Kettner. “The second half was a different story as we made some adjustments and the flood gates opened.”
Khamenka opened the scoring in the 14th minute, with Cory King assisting. Then, it was Lindon Jonuzi’s turn to find the back of the net, scoring an unassisted goal. Goals came in bunches in the second half.
“Alex Hoopes dribbled through the Fort Atkinson defense and scored an unassisted goal within the first minute,” said Kettner. “Josh Fried then got into the action with two goals shortly thereafter. Josh was out with an injury for several weeks and this was the first game in which he was able to get some appreciable minutes.”
Calvin Rahn set up both goals for Fried and assisted on a goal by Alex Nelson in a span of less than five minutes. Moving up from the varsity reserve team, sophomore Jack Burville got playing time with Grant Stanley, and Burville knocked one in from the top of the penalty area.
Joe Thousand also had a goal for Waunakee, with Khamenka assisting. The Warriors let loose a barrage of shots, totaling 22 on the night. Joe Fuhremann made one save.
With rain coming down in buckets at times, the Warriors eased past the Beavers on Thursday, Oct. 7.
“It was a very wet outing in Reedsburg with the rain coming down hard at times,” said Kettner. “Reedsburg also came into the game with a defensive mindset and basically parked nine players in the penalty area (we call that ‘parking the bus’).”
Rahn scored on two shots from far out, with goals coming in the second and tenth minutes.
“The rain then got pretty heavy and made it very difficult to play for the rest of the half as we took our starters out after the secon goal and gave others the chance to play,” said Kettner.
Decker Storch padded the lead with a penalty kick in the 58th minute after Reedsburg was called for a handball. Kettner said that Fried scored his fourth goal on a nice give-and-go from Carson Wormet, and then Storch moved to a central midfield position and scored more two goals in four minutes.
Fuhremann again only had to make one save to maintain a clean sheet.