Fond du Lac’s defense stymied Sheboygan North’s boys soccer team for nearly 80 full minutes on Thursday.
Emphasis on the “nearly.”
Calian Schrader found the back of the net on a 16-yard shot with about 3½ minutes left on the clock to give North a 1-0 win and hand the Golden Raiders their first regional championship since 2005.
“… This team probably plays the hardest of any team I’ve ever had and plays together the best I’ve ever seen,” said Tim Eirich, who picked up his first regional championship in his seventh year as North’s coach. “They just — they play great team soccer.”
The Raiders missed two penalty kicks during the game, missing opportunities to put the game away earlier.
Fond du Lac’s tight-knit defense didn’t help matters, packing in players around the net and stifling North’s offense.
North is scheduled to host Germantown in a sectional semifinal next Thursday at 7 p.m.
Neither team has given up a goal so far this postseason. North beat Sheboygan South 3-0 in a regional semifinal earlier this week; Germantown has outscored its first two playoff opponents a combined 6-0.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys played,” Eirich said. “I’m happy for them, I really am. They’ve worked hard all year and I think — I think, still, some of our best soccer is still ahead of us.”