It had been awhile since the Central Wisconsin Christian boys soccer team had beaten Winnebago Lutheran.
So when the Crusaders’ 3-1 win Thursday afternoon at the Fondy Soccer Complex, there was no shortage of celebrations.
“I think mentally it’s just huge for us. It’s been eight or nine years, so it’s high time,” said CWC coach Gregg Zonnefeld. “We’ve had some great matches; we’ve had some ties, but it was important for us to make that next step mentally as much as anything.
“Now we can play next week for an undefeated conference championship, and that’s big for our kids.”
CWC (13-3-1, 8-0) was bigger, faster and in the second half showed more technical ability as it erased the Vikings’ 1-0 halftime lead. Two successive goals put CWC in charge.
The first came in the 52nd minute from Jared Regnerus who found himself with the ball and space inside the penalty area after Cody Zonnefeld slid the ball behind the defense. Regnerus’ shot deflected off the diving WLA goalie but snuck into the goal.
Zonnefeld, whose speed caused WLA problems down the right wing, scored less than five minutes later, this time making a nice turn after collecting the ball at the top of the penalty area and hammering his shot just inside the near post. Trevor Zonnefeld put on the finishing touches with a goal off of a corner kick in the 64th minute.
“We talked coming in that we had to attack the outside, whether it was left side, right side, we felt that we could attack their outside backs and speed wise we had some options,” Coach Zonnefeld said. “We were able to get Cody open down the right side and it paid dividends for us.”
WLA (12-5-3, 6-2) scored its goal in the 25th minute. After a foul just outside the area, Aaron Markgraf curled his inswinger right to the head of Jacob Schraufnagel, who knocked it in for the lead.
Despite the loss, WLA coach David Haag said he was pleased with his young team and took a big-picture look at the game.
“I was happy with how my guys played. CWC’s a really good team,” he said. “If you had told me before the year we would be in a position that if we could win our last two games we could at least tie for the conference we would have taken that.”
The Vikings were close to doubling its lead in the first half. First, Jeran Huey had a goal called back because he interfered with the goalie. Then right before the halftime whistle Schraufnagel blasted a shot just wide of the post.
In the second half, Richie Schultz had a shot to tie the game, but CWC goalie Logan Ganz made a full extension save, one of just three on the afternoon.