The MHS boys soccer team suffered through a disappointing loss to Wausau East last Tuesday, but rather than sulking they elevated their play to the level of Saturday’s Antigo Invite title, and a third 3-0 triumph over the Red Robins on Monday.
“We’re coming together as a team,” MHS coach Doug Smith said. “We’re playing a lot more consistently together rather than as individuals.”
Despite two previous 3-0 wins over Antigo, the teams took to the sidelines on Monday with a 0-0 halftime tie.
But Lucas Olson drained a direct free kick in the early minutes of the second half, and Kyle Hahn fed Austin Hass just minutes later for a 2-0 lead. Luis Mendoza nailed a long direct free kick with just over 10 minutes remaining.
“I was kind of excited that Austin Hass, a brand new varsity player, was just brought up from JV and has already scored twice,” Smith said. “It was very bizarre that both other goals came off direct kicks. Lucas was right up against the edge of the field and put it in the top left corner. Luis was 35-40 yards out and popped it up and it just skimmed under the crossbar and over the goalkeeper’s fingers.”
Merrill held a margin of roughly 20-4 in shots on goal.
The Bluejays opened with a wild 4-2 win over Gresham, then notched a 3-0 tourney-clinching triumph over their hosts, who were hot off a 7-0 victory over Peshtigo.
“It was a good day,” Smith said. “We were eager for another win. Our defense played brilliantly, giving Antigo nothing.”
The MHS boys scored twice in the first 11 minutes, starting with a Ryan Barker goal on a perfect lofted Olson cross to far post. Hass fed speedy Broesch a though-ball for the second. In the 20th minute, sweeper John Breaman hammered the ball to clear it, and Broesch ran onto it and again finessed it into the goal.
“Sometimes, we get so excited to get a chance to shoot at the goal that we, like amateurs, blast the ball to the moon,” Smith said. “But not this time. The score was as gentle as could be; placed so perfectly their keeper had no chance to stop it.”
Merrill pulled much of the starting line-up at this point and still played to a 0-0 tie the rest of the way.
Merrill trailed Gresham 1-0 early, but the Jays countered it with Hahn’s hammered shot from close range in the 17th minute. Two minutes later, Hahn sent a cross that Hass nailed with a flying header.
Gresham tied it up at 2-2 in the 25th minute, but Noah Koebe got the lead back before half, and Broesch’s goal in the 47th minute was plenty since the MHS defense didn’t allow a second-half shot.
Wausau East cellar-dweller
Tuesday’s game featured the two winless squads in the Valley.