By Nick Beversdorf
After two shut-out victories against Pacelli and Antigo, Merrill varsity soccer fell on the other end of a shut-out with a 0-7 loss to DC Everest on Thursday. Although they initially held off the Everest offense, at 15 minutes in they got their first goal and scored relatively consistently there after, although at no point did the Bluejays give up, fighting for a goal until the very end.
“I think tonight was an eye opener for us,” comments head coach Kyle Hahn. “We seemed a bit stunned, surprised even, that the level of play changed so dramatically from our first two games. No disrespect to Pacelli or Antigo, but Everest is in another realm. The intensity and level of play we saw from them tonight is what we need to expect in the Valley all season long and we will. There should be no more surprises going forward. The good thing is that most, if not all of their goals came as a result of things that we can work on and fix.”
Merrill had one shot on goal, compared to Everest’s 19 shots on goal. Credit goes to Keeper Mason Gebert and the rest of the defense for preventing what could have been much worse. Gerbert had a total of 12 saves for the night.
“The loss is disappointing, yes, but I don’t think it by any means defines our program or the work this team is putting in,” Hahn said. “It’s certainly not going to stop our guys and the coaching staff from coming out and giving it their best. I see it in practice and I see it in games; these guys are busting their butts and working hard to get better each and every day.”
“At 7-0 down with less than 30 seconds remaining, it would’ve been easy for our guys to say, ‘You know what? We’re done.’ Most people wouldn’t blame them for putting their heads down and seeing out the remaining time, but that’s not what happened. Austin Burgener won the ball off an Everest player and took off on a 40-yard dead sprint to try and make something happen. The great thing is, he wasn’t the only one. Our forwards and midfielders were all doing their job off the ball to get into open positions, as well.
“Both the officials and Everest’s coaches went out of their way after the game to let us know they were impressed with our team’s never-say-die attitude and can see the progress we’re making.”
Merrill varsity soccer will have their next game at on Tuesday at Wausau East at 5 p.m.