POYNETTE — After being mired in a 1-8-1 slump over a 10-game stretch, the Beaver Dam prep boys soccer team busted out of that with a shutout of rival Watertown last week.
The Golden Beavers maintained their momentum Thursday night, using a three-goal second half to pull away for a 4-0 shutout of Portage/Poynette in a Badger North Conference game at Poynette High School.
Beaver Dam (6-9-2, 2-4-0 Badger North) came out of the gates slowly, taking just a 1-0 lead into halftime.
Out of the intermission, the United (2-13-2, 0-6-0) tried to mount a comeback as they created two scoring chances in the opening five minutes, but the Beavers quickly wiped them out. Beaver Dam then scored three goals in just under 16 minutes to take control for good.
After a long throw-in was snatched by Beaver Dam goalkeeper Kenneth Mensah, the Beavers worked the ball to midfielder Nathan Jansen. The sophomore did the rest as he dribbled from near midfield down inside the 18-yard box and slipped a shot past Portage/Poynette goalkeeper Garrett Lynch and into the bottom right corner for a 2-0 lead with 51 minutes, 55 seconds played.
Beaver Dam wasted little time adding to its lead as just under 10 minutes later, sophomore Pedro Rodriguez scored the first of his two goals to make it 3-0. Rodriguez, who helped set up the Beavers’ opening goal, took a pass from sophomore defender Nicholas Jansen and was able to score past Lynch at 61:19.
Rodriguez later pushed the Beaver Dam lead to 4-0 after converting a penalty kick at 67:38. After senior George Delgadillo was taken down inside the 18-yard box, Rodriguez stepped up and fired a shot past a diving Lynch into the upper right corner.
“We were a little tentative tonight; we hadn’t played in a week again and just slow to get things going,” Beaver Dam coach Dave Elgersma said. “The first 60 minutes, it was a game, but the last 30 minutes, we just dominated. I don’t know if we just wore them out or what, but we started playing to each other’s feet.”
The Beavers created plenty of chances in the early going but failed to capitalize, including a close-range effort that was sent over the crossbar off a free kick just before the 19-minute mark. Contributing to the missed opportunities, Elgersma said, was the team’s drive to do too much too quickly and some poor runs.
“The first half, we were playing too fast,” he said. “They were just trying to go quickly too early, but yet our midfielders didn’t play the ball quick enough. You’re trying to play fast, but we didn’t play the ball through quick enough.”
That turned around in the second half. Beaver Dam continued to push for more over the final 20-plus minutes, creating a handful of opportunities. The Beavers couldn’t find the back of the net down the stretch, thanks in part to Lynch, who made 11 saves on the night, including six in the second half.
With the win, the Beavers have now won back-to-back games and will look to make it three straight this weekend when they take on Reedsburg. With the playoffs on deck following the matchup against the Beavers, Elgersma knows a victory will be a huge confidence booster.
“I need these guys’ confidence as high as I possibly can so they play well, and if we can keep them positive, they’ll be all right,” he said.
Beaver Dam 1 3 — 4
Portage/Poynette 0 0 — 0
First half: BD — Graff (Rodriguez), 23:12.
Second half: BD — Na. Jansen, 51:55; Rodriguez (Ni. Jansen), 61:19; Rodriguez, 67:38 (pk).
Saves: BD (Mensah) 2; PP (Lynch) 11.