Door County Advocate Sturgeon Bay/WLA Summary:
WIAA soccer: Vikings derail top-ranked Clippers
This wasn?t how the high school soccer season was supposed to end for the Sturgeon Bay Clippers.
Not for a team that was ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 3.
Not for a team that had lost only three previous games, all against much larger Division 1 opponents.
And not for such an experienced team that seemed destined to reach the state tournament for a third consecutive season.
But the typically high-scoring Clippers were stopped time and time again Thursday night, and Winnebago Lutheran Academy escaped with a 1-0 upset in a Division 3 sectional semifinal game at Clark Field in Sturgeon Bay.
?This loss really stinks,? said Clippers coach Todd Maas. ?It really hurts for the seniors. It hurts for me. We figured this was going to be our year (to win a state title). If it was going to happen, we felt this was going to be it.?
Sturgeon Bay finished the season 22-4, while WLA (17-5-3) hosts Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran (23-3-1) in a sectional final game tonight in Fond du Lac with the winner advancing to next week?s state tournament in Milwaukee.
The Vikings were Division 3 state runners-up last year, but they lost numerous players to graduation and were considered a big underdog against a more experienced Sturgeon Bay team that returned eight starters from 2011.
?Sturgeon Bay sure is a great team,? said Vikings coach David Haag. ?We knew we were a big underdog, although I told the kids before the game we?ve beaten No. 1 teams in the state before in my time as coach and we?ve been ranked No. 1 before and lost. So we knew it could be done.?
The Vikings scored the game?s only goal in the 31st minute, when they were awarded a direct kick just outside the penalty box following a questionable tripping foul on Sturgeon Bay.
Aaron Markgraf hit a hard shot from 19 yards out that was initially stopped by a diving Sturgeon Bay keeper David VanDreese. But the ball ricocheted off of VanDreese?s hands and right to Jacob Schraufnagel, who kicked it into the upper left corner of the net.
?I didn?t like the (tripping) call,? said Maas. ?I don?t want to say it was a bad call, because I?m not out there and the referees have a very tough job, especially when guys are flying around 100 miles an hour. But from my point of view the players were shoulder to shoulder and a no-call would have been fine with me. Some weird things happened after that. David stopped the ball, we didn?t clear it and it went right to one of their guys. It was just a screwed up play right from the start.?
Maas said the goal was a confidence-booster for the Vikings.
?I figured if they stuck one in on us early we were going to have a dogfight until the end,? he said. ?If we could have put one in before them, I think we would have been in good shape. But that didn?t happen. So now we had to start battling and digging ourselves out of a hole.?
Sturgeon Bay had numerous chances to tie the game, especially in the second half when the Vikings went into a defensive mode and were content on playing back to protect their lead. Will Kitchens had a header that deflected off the crossbar, and Thomas Stasiak, Reid Stevenson and others peppered Vikings? keeper Caleb King with some hard shots in the air and on the ground, but the Clippers came up empty.
?Sturgeon Bay had some good whacks, that?s for sure,? said Haag. ?They had our guys running ragged at the end trying to dodge bullet after bullet.?
The Clippers, who were averaging six goals a game, finished with 29 shots, including 13 on goal. The Vikings had just seven shots and three on goal, all in the first half.
?It?s frustrating, but everyone was trying their best,? said Stevenson, who led the Clippers this season with a school-record 52 goals. ?Everybody was giving 100 percent, we just didn?t come away with what we wanted. In the end, it just wasn?t enough.?
Maas said the Clippers ?played hard and stuck it on the line,? but they simply couldn?t get the Vikings to crack.
?I was confident in the second half that we were going to put one in,? he said. ?Usually the second half is our half. We just couldn?t find the final piece of the puzzle.?
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