Sheboygan North boys soccer coach Tim Eirich can’t remember the last time his Golden Raiders won a conference championship.
“It’s never been since I’ve been here,” said Eirich, who has been with the program 10 years.
It’s a title drought that might soon end.
North inched closer to a Fox River Classic Conference crown with a 1-0 win over Green Bay Preble on Thursday night, getting a big goal from senior standout midfielder Calian Schrader and an assist from the weather.
Lightning was seen in the area with 13 minutes remaining in the contest, forcing the players to leave the field for a required 30-minute delay.
The lightning never did let up, causing the officials to end the game less than an hour later and a little before 9 p.m.
Preble coach Chris Becker said the teams would have had to wait until at least 9:30 p.m. to resume. With North having a lengthy bus ride home and school today, it was decided not to attempt to continue.
The Golden Raiders improved to 6-0 in the FRCC, while Preble dropped to 5-1.
It’s the first time the Hornets have been blanked by a conference opponent since Green Bay Notre Dame beat them 1-0 in September 2011.
“We have always tried to measure ourselves up against Preble,” said Eirich, whose team extended its winning streak to 11. “They are the standard of the conference and any time you can play them like this — winning or going toe-to-toe — it’s pretty impressive.
“It would have been nice to finish the game out. I’ll agree with that.”
Becker and his players were left to wonder what could have been had the game not ended early. Preble is averaging 3.46 goals per game and has one of the most dynamic scorers in the league in senior forward Evan Garcia, who entered with a team-high 17 goals.
“These guys, we were knocking on the doorstep in that second half,” said Becker, whose team will play Bay Port today. “I think we could have probably gotten one in, but Mother Nature calls.”
Things also were made worse for Preble due to some forced lineup changes before the game. Becker had to start two freshmen because a few of his players were suspended for the game.
Becker declined to get specific when asked about the suspensions.
“I think it messed with a lot of guys’ heads,” he said. “They came out with a slow start and we just couldn’t recuperate.”
North got the lone goal after Schrader recovered the ball off a Preble turnover near the Hornets’ goal and scored a little more than 27 minutes in.
Preble had some quality chances after the goal, including a few from senior midfielder Mohamed Mohamed, but it could not find a way to score.
“We had our opportunities,” Becker said. “We could have easily been up, and we just couldn’t finish it.”