The Bluejay soccer broke through with one of its best wins in program history when it knocked off Wis. Rapids 1-0 at home on Tuesday night.
The Raiders were tied for first place with D.C. Everest, before Merrill picked up its first victory in conference play to improve to 1-5.
“We played an awesome game our defense played their best game so far and we were smart with the ball,” MHS coach Luis Mendoza said. “It’s a huge win for us we knew it wasn’t going to be easy but the guys proved today that we can play against any team in our conference and I’m very proud of them.”
Devon Annis netted a pass from Aidan Ball in the 33rd minute of the first half, for what would end up being the only score of the game.
Trevor Asmundsen turned back all 10 Rapids shots on goal, while Merrill put 5 on Jordan Thames.
The Merrill boys soccer team fell behind second-place Marshfield 2-0 in the first half of Tuesday’s contest at the MARC, but that didn’t mean they were through.
The Jays fought back into a 2-2 tie and had several other near misses as Marshfield turned a 3-2 edge into a 5-2 win with two late goals.
“We played pretty good,” Mendoza said. “I wish we would have kept the intensity up that we had when we were tied. We kept pressing and wanting to score. You can’t take that away from them.
“They’re a good team. It’s hard to play in a conference where all the teams are strong. They want to embarrass us, but it’s hard to do because we’re trying hard.”
Merrill’s Brian Root opened the scoring for the Bluejays with a 20-yard shot in the 57th minute. Then he put a direct free kick into the box in the 61st minute, and Annis was taken to the ground when he tried to attack it. Root converted the penalty kick for a tie score.
In the 70th minute, Root burned a defender with a turn move, but his left-footed shot popped just over the top. Marshfield scored a short while later to grab the lead.
In the 80th minute, Joe Ladewig hit a hot roller to the right side of the goal, but goalkeeper Mathias Holm made a diving stop. A half-minute later, Marshfield intercepted a Merrill goal kick and Collin Nikolai hit a long shot after a pass to make it 4-2. The Jays’ Zack Anderson beat Holm for a header chance, but it just missed. With 3:44 to go, Nikolai nailed a curving direct kick from 35 yards.
Asmundsen made 6 saves, while Marshfield’s Holm had 5.
The Bluejays hit Eagle River on Saturday and ended up with a split. They topped the host team 2-0 in the opener after goals in the 22nd minute from Austin Zettler and in the 35th for Annis.
“We played really well, we took advantage of the chances they gave us, and we were solid on defense,” Mendoza said.
Marquette, Mich., captured the title contest by an 8-0 tally, after taking a 5-0 lead at halftime.
“They had a really good team and playing back to back had the guys tired out from the first game,” Mendoza said.
“Even though they were tired they still tried their hardest.”
The Panthers grabbed a 5-0 lead in the first half, including two in a two-minute span near intermission, of Thursday’s road game under the lights. Point tacked on a pair in the second half for a 7-0 triumph.
Asmundsen had 8 saves, while the Jays put 3 shots on goal.
SPASH and Marshfield were both 3-2 before Tuesday night, while Merrill was at 0-5.