WAUPUN — For how thoroughly the Waupun prep boys soccer team outplayed Central Wisconsin Christian in the first half of Monday night’s Crosstown Clash, all the Warriors had to show for it was two goals.
And in the early going of the second half, CWC made the Warriors regret not creating a little more cushion.
But as quickly as the Crusaders erased their deficit, the Warriors woke back up and Trevor Roecker’s goal in the 64th minute sunk CWC, which couldn’t mount much of a threat the rest of the way in host Waupun’s 4-2 victory.
Roecker got free to clear a pass ahead from Baron Buchholz and beat goalkeeper Maxwell Vander Werff with a strike to the left corner of the net to put the Warriors back in front after the Crusaders had leveled things at 2-all.
“We had a little mental breakdown. We missed on a (defensive) switch — and against Waupun with their speed, you can’t miss on switches,” CWC coach Gregg Zonnefeld said.
CWC’s Josh Hoogeveen, standing right in front of the goal line, used his chest to redirect a beautiful cross from Zach Vander Werff — who fired from the back line even with the right post — in the 62nd minute, knotting the contest at 2. But Waupun regained the momentum almost immediately.
“That was really important,” Waupun coach Jason Buchholz said.
Buchholz was never too concerned his squad would answer back the way it did, though.
“It was just a matter of time,” he said. “I don’t know how many times we missed the net by the width of the ball. I thought we played well — we moved the ball better than we have in some of the other games, and hopefully we can continue that over the next few games this week.”
Waupun (3-4) controlled possession for most of the contest, finishing with a 10-4 edge on CWC (5-2) in shots on goal.
“We definitely should have maybe run away with it a little more,” Jason Buchholz said. “They made a couple nice goals to tie the game and make it interesting, but our guys were able to put a couple away late and win the game.”
“They really helped us by missing some really good opportunities,” he said. “I thought we played a really poor first half — we just didn’t come out ready to play. They won almost all the 50-50 balls and they dictated the first half.
“So we made a couple adjustments at half and we had a 10- to 15-minute stretch where we got ourselves back in the game. We just were a little sharper that first while.”
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The rally started with a highlight-reel goal by Zach Vander Werff, who in the 49th minute fired from 40 yards out and found the back of the net just below the crossbar and just above keeper Caden Bernier’s fingertips.
“Zach’s a great player and draws a lot of attention, and we’ve got to learn to use that attention to create other opportunities,” Zonnefeld said of his team’s struggles outside of its two scoring strikes. “He got us within 2-1 and then all of a sudden the tempo of the game changes. The first half, we just kind of felt like we survived and you start to thrive a little bit when you get that goal.”
Zach Vander Werff and Hoogeveen teamed up to capitalize on the momentum a little less than 13 minutes later, but CWC’s excitement was quickly dashed by Roecker.
“The first two minutes after every goal in a match of soccer is such an important thing, because there’s some momentum that’s going to be grabbed,” Zonnefeld said. “And we didn’t win that next two minutes. And all of the work that was done — it wasn’t gone, but now we were back climbing up the mountain instead of back on level ground.”
Brayden Sanders scored the game’s first goal late in the 9th minute on a penalty kick. Three minutes later, Baron Buchholz stretched the advantage to 2-0 by burning by a defender and beating the keeper one-on-one in the box.
Sanders later salted away the victory for Waupun when he beat a defender one-on-one at the top of the box and fired a left-footed strike to the lower left corner of the net to bookend things.
“Their speed caused some problems for us — caused us to get out of position,” said Zonnefeld, who called the Warriors the best team his squad has faced so far on the young season. “They moved the ball better than we did and that’s something we need to get better at if we’re going to be as successful as we think we can be.”
WAUPUN 4, CENTRAL WIS. CHRISTIAN 2<
CWC 0 2 — 2
Waup 2 2 — 4
First half: Waup — Brayden Sanders, 8:50 (pk). Waup — Baron Buchholz (Trevor Roecker), 15:51.
Second half: CWC — Zach Vander Werff, 48:51. CWC — Josh Hoogeveen (Zach Vander Werff), 61:37. Waup — Trevor Roecker (Baron Buchholz), 63:06. Waup — Brayden Sanders, 82:11.
Saves: CWC (Maxwell Vander Werff) 6, Waup (Caden Bernier) 2. Shots on goal: CWC 4, Waup 10.