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Slow starts plague Warrior soccer

By Tom Linder (Waunakee Tribune), 09/27/19, 12:00AM CDT


When the Waunakee boys’ soccer team gets rolling this season, they’ve been nearly impossible to stop. Their biggest trouble lately, however, has been starting off fast.

In their two games last week, the Warriors recorded a total of zero goals in the first half in contrast to eight goals after halftime. Waunakee started off with a second-half comeback against visiting Beaver Dam on Tuesday.

Waunakee 5,

Beaver Dam 2

The Golden Beavers got the jump on the Warriors early, scoring twice in the game’s first dozen minutes.

“Beaver Dam was beating us to every 50/50 ball and had more motivation to win the game,” Waunakee’s Head Coach Dave Kettner said of how Waunakee’s opponent built their early lead.

Though the Warrior defense clamped down for the remainder of the half – not allowing any more goals through – the offense was unable to cut into Beaver Dam’s lead before halftime, and went into the break trailing 2-0.

“We put forth a challenge to them on the basis that they were the better team…” Kettner said of the team’s adjustments coming out of halftime. “We emphasized being more aggressive, playing with more speed, better movement off the ball and working together as a team with trust that your teammates will be in the right positions based on those movements. It certainly showed itself in the first 10 minutes and put Beaver Dam back on their heels.”

In the first 10 minutes after halftime, the Warriors scored three times – twice by Cole Kettner and once by Jacob Mouille – to turn their two-goal deficit into a one-goal lead.

Not satisfied with a narrow lead, Waunakee continued to attack as the half progressed, and got two more goals – by Trent Jarvi from Mason Miller and by Casey Fischer from Jarvi – before the final whistle blew to make the final 5-2.

In goal, Joey Fuhremann made a total of seven saves on the day for the Warriors.

Waunakee was in for a tougher test on Friday when they traveled to Monona Grove, taking on the sixth-ranked team in Division 2.

Monona Grove 3,

Waunakee 2

Once again, the Warrior offense struggled in the first half against the Silver Eagles and was unable to find the back of the net.

“Slow starts are a continuing challenge for the team,” said Kettner. “The players understand this and are working to improve in this area.”

Defensively, the Warriors were able to keep everything in front of them as their offense tried to get into a groove; they kept Monona Grove off the scoreboard, as well. Heading into halftime, the teams were locked in a 0-0 tie.

For the second straight game, the Warriors had the advantage coming out of halftime. Sam Acker scored on an assist from Mouille in the game’s 57th minute to put Waunakee up, but their lead was short-lived.

In the next eight minutes, Monona Grove found the back of the net twice, flipping their one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. The Silver Eagles added to that lead in the 82nd minute, giving Waunakee little time to mount a comeback.

The Warriors did manage to cut into Monona Grove’s lead in the 89th minute with a Fischer goal, but didn’t have enough time to find an equalizer; Waunakee ultimately fell 3-2 to the Silver Eagles.

Waunakee (7-4-1, 2-0-0 Badger North) ventured to Mount Horeb on Tuesday in a Badger North contest against the Vikings, the results of which were not available for this week’s edition. The Warriors return home on Thursday to play against Milton; start time at Waunakee Soccer Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m.