Walk outside on a humid, summer afternoon and even though the sun is shining and the sky is blue, the smell of a sure-to-happen thunderstorm will loom heavily in the air.
For Winneconne’s soccer team, those storm clouds never came.
Despite controlling the offensive play for about 60 minutes and piling up more than 20 shots — creating the sense that a goal was inevitable — the Wolves were never able to dent the back of the net and dropped a 1-0 decision to Waupaca in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal on Thursday.
“We had so many chances,” junior Kristin McAdow said. “The second half, I felt like (the offense was going) really good. We just couldn’t pull it off this game.”
Winneconne had chances sail high, go wide, hit the side-netting and even saw a corner kick carom off the crossbar.
Waupaca goalkeeper Josephine Waitrovich also made seven saves in goal, while the Comets also withstood a Wolves’ penalty kick in the first half that Michelle Walker sent just wide.
“With all of the shooting, your chances (of scoring) increase so I thought we were going to score. I was confident,” Winneconne coach Luis Sayavedra said. “I told the girls at halftime, we are going to score. It wasn’t our day.”
The struggles started with Walker’s penalty kick, which came in the 17th minute when Waupaca’s Anna Abrams was whistled for a handball in the penalty area.
Walker hit a low, hard shot that beat Waitrovich but rolled just outside the left goal post.
Kajali Robinson had a scoring chance in the 27th minute when she got around a Waupaca defender but sent a shot wide from the right side of the penalty area. A few minutes later, Jessica Woods broke free with a slick one-on-one move but her lofted shot ended on top of the goal.
Just before halftime, Walker got a little space from about 35 yards out, however, her shot sailed just over the crossbar as the Comets clung to the 1-0 lead.
“Really frustrating because we were this close so many times. It just wasn’t our day I guess,” Walker said. “If there were 10-15 more minutes in the game, I feel like we would have scored for sure, but we should have done a better.”
It was much of the same in the second half as the speed of Catlyn Dzoiba on the right side and Robinson in the middle created multiple opportunities for the Wolves.
One of the charges resulted in Walker’s corner kick that ricocheted off the cross bar and to the left side of the goal, but the Comets were able to clear the ball from danger.
The Wolves amped up the pressure even more in the final 10 minutes as Jessica Kron and Courtney Swanlund had shots saved by Waitrovich.
A save by Winneconne’s Taylor Tomczyk with about 20 seconds left to go, set up one final push for the tying goal. The Wolves managed to advance the ball to the penalty area, however, couldn’t generate a shot before time expired.
The heartbreaking loss doesn’t take away from a tremendous season for the Wolves, who finished 15-2-1.
“I’m really proud of the whole team,” Walker said of the season. “It was a really great year and I loved playing with every single one of them.”
Added McAdow: “I’m disappointed, but overall with our whole season, I’m so proud of our team. It was a tough loss, but you have to lose sometimes, I guess.”
Notes: Tomczyk finished with four saves, including a couple tough ones near the end of the game that kept the deficit at 1-0. … The Wolves generated six corner kicks in the game, to the Comets’ four. … Kron was taken down in the penalty area twice in the final eight minutes, but neither play resulted in a foul. … Waupaca’s goal came in the 15th minute by Mikaila Johnson.
Waupaca…1 0 — 1
Winneconne…0 0 — 0
First half: WAU — Mikaila Johnson (Sierra Patzke), 14:03.
Saves: WAU (Josephine Waitrovich) 7, WINN (Taylor Tomczyk) 4.