The Wisconsin Dells soccer team has risen to the occasion time and time again this season against the traditional powers of the Capitol Conference.
The Chiefs again were up to the task, battling back for a 2-2 draw against Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld in a league match-up last Thursday at the Woodside Sports Complex in Wisconsin Dells. Senior goalkeeper Ben Fish tallied five saves, while freshman Mark Bautista and sophomore Alejandro Salazar each scored to lead Wisconsin Dells.
It couldn’t have been a worse start for the Chiefs as Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld struck within the opening two minutes of the first half. Taking a pass from junior Cadeben Schomber, junior Gavin Childs drove into the 18-yard box and fired a shot past Fish into the upper right corner to give the Knights a 1-0 lead with 1 minute, 45 seconds played.
Despite the early hole, Wisconsin Dells (5-4-2, 2-4-2 Capitol) answered right back just minutes later through Bautista. After the Chiefs forced a turnover inside the Knights’ defensive third, Bautista picked up the ball.
As everyone else stopped due to an inadvertent whistle, the forward proceeded to dribble into the top right corner of the 18-yard box and unleashed a shot into the bottom far left corner, past Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld goalkeeper Trevor Dimpfl to knot things at 1 with 5:10 played.
Even once again, Wisconsin Dells continued to press and were able to get a pair of long range shots on goal in the ensuing minutes, but Dimpfl saved both attempts.
The Chiefs nearly broke the deadlock with 20 minutes played as junior Will Van Dinter drove a cross back across goal, but no one was on the back post. On the other end, Fish stifled a Knights attempt before making a pair of saves off a free kick at the 27 minute mark to keep things tied at 1.
Ultimately the Knights (6-4-2, 5-2-1) broke through just before the halftime whistle through Braydan Cymbalak. After Childs was taken down around 30 yards out from goal, the senior defender delivered a rocket into the upper left corner for a 2-1 lead at 43:30.
Despite conceding late, the Wisconsin Dells defense buckled down in the second half, shutting out the Knights over the final 45 minutes, allowing just one shot on goal. The Chiefs offense also picked up steam and tied things again inside the final 15 minutes as Salazar put home a penalty kick past Dimpfl, who had eight saves, at 78:06 to level things at 2.
With just under 12 minutes left, neither team was able to find the back of the net again as Wisconsin Dells settled for a second straight draw.
Wisconsin Dells 3, Luther Prep 1
Wisconsin Dells got three goals from Will Van Dinter, all in the second half, as it rallied for a 3-1 victory over Watertown Luther Prep in a Capitol Conference game on Tuesday in Watertown.
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After the Phoenix scored in the ninth minute to take an early lead, Van Dinter got the Chiefs on the board in the 50th minute. He put Wisconsin Dells ahead in the 66th minute, and then made it 3-1 with a goal in the 89th minute.
WISCONSIN DELLS 2, WISCONSIN HEIGHTS/BARNEVELD 2
Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld 2 0 — 2
Wisconsin Dells 1 1 — 2
First half: WHB — Schomber (Childs), 1:45; WD — Bautista, 5:10; WHB — Cymbalak, 43:30.
Second half: WD — Salazar (pk), 78:06.
Saves: WHB (Dimpfl) 8, WD (Fish) 5.
WISCONSIN DELLS 3, WATERTOWN LUTHER PREP 1
Wisconsin Dells 0 3 — 3
Watertown Luther Prep 1 0 — 1
First half: WLP — Ernest, 8:50.
Second half: WD — Van Dinter 49:40; WD — Van Dinter, 65:14; WD — Van Dinter, 88:16.
Follow Sean Davis on Twitter @SDavis_PDR or contact him at 608-745-3512.