For a school with just over 100 high school students, Central Wisconsin Christian has an excellent soccer facility in Mulder Field. That could reap rewards as the Crusaders can make a repeat trip to Milwaukee for the state tournament by winning two games at home.
Those wins won’t come easy. CWC hosts Lakeside Lutheran tonight at 7 p.m. with the winner returning to Mulder Field on Saturday to play either fifth-ranked Oostburg or Columbus at 7 p.m.
“I think when the draw came out we knew if we got a one or two seed we wouldn’t have to leave home,” CWC coach Gregg Zonnefeld said. “To have that opportunity is great. It’s familiar, you don’t have to get on the bus, you can go through your normal routine.”
So far that routine has worked for CWC (17-3-1), seeded second in the sectional and undefeated Flyway champions. Zonnefeld said the team currently has the best winning percentage in the program’s 26-year history.
“We’ve really played along the lines of what I thought we would,” Zonnefeld said. “Winning the conference by two games – that was a bit of a surprise, but we’re very pleased with where we’re at.
“But the kids’ memories come more in the postseason. It was our 13th regional title, but that was an important goal for us. We believed coming in we had a shot to get back to state. We felt that was a realistic expectation.”
To get back to Milwaukee, Zonnefeld said it will be important for his team’s high-possession attack to break down the more defensive posture of the teams remaining.
In talking about Lakeside Lutheran, a six seed, he said they have two dynamic offensive players, but prefer to sit six or seven behind the ball and play long passes to those players up top.
“I think one of the things we’ve been able to do consistently is score goals, and we need to play the possession game we feel we’re capable of,” Coach Zonnefeld said of the key to winning this week. “We’re probably the ones (in the sectional) who like to possess the most. We’re going to need to find ways to score goals.”
Scoring is spread throughout the team with Luke Jansen orchestrating things with a team-high 20 goals and 16 assists. Cody Zonnefeld (16 goals) and Jared Regnerus (10) have the speed up top and Lucas Vander Berg (11 assists) provides excellent service.
All four of those players are underlcassmen.