Consistency and cool-headedness are the two things the Waconia boys’ soccer team is striving for as they get off to a hot start this year. Already 5-0-1, the Wildcats lead the Wright County Conference, two games ahead of Hutchinson and Mound-Westonka.
Waconia 0, Holy Family 0
The last time the Wildcats met the Fire was last year’s section semifinal game, which ended in a 3-2 shootout victory for Waconia.
Facing off against Holy Family on Sept. 4, the Wildcats controlled most of the game, but were unable to break through the defensive-minded Fire, according to Waconia head coach Tyrel Seim.
The game ended in a stalemate, tied at 0-0, as neither team was able to get past the other’s defense. Senior goalie Brandon Gonzalez had five saves for his third shutout of the season.
Seim said the team played well defensively, but was out of rhythm on the offense due to Holy Family’s strong back line.
“It would have been nice to get the win, we played well enough to deserve the win,” Seim said, “but we just need to practice how to create chances in our offensive end against teams that bunker down in their defensive end.”
Waconia 4, Orono 1
Hosting the Spartans on Sept. 6, the score was tied at 0-0 after the first half, but Seim said he could tell the Waconia offense was close to breaking through after being shut out for three straight halves since the Holy Family game.
Forty seconds into the second half, junior James Nash found the back of the net to break the Wildcats’ dry spell. Three minutes later, Nash played the ball through the top of the defense to senior Billy Schultz, who faked a shot before blasting one past the Mound-Westonka goalie. To make it three goals in eight minutes of play, junior Charlie Spurbeck grabbed a Schultz rebound for the goal.
Off a throw, senior Mitchell Zebell got a deflection and a shot, and it was deflected off senior Nick Dirnberger into the net for the Wildcats’ fourth goal later in the half. The Spartans scored their lone goal with two minutes to go.
This was a big game for the Wildcats, as they have never scored more than one goal on the Spartans, Seim said.
“Orono has been the big competition for us and a measuring stick we have used throughout previous years,” Seim said, “so this was a big game for our team over a quality Orono team.”
Waconia 1, Mound-Westonka 0
On a comfortable Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats hosted Mound-Westonka, another game where the Wildcats faced a brick wall of defense.
“This time Waconia was creating chances we just weren’t finding the back of the net,” Seim said.
The second half was more of the same, with the Wildcats controlling possession and the White Hawks stopping them on defense.
Waconia’s lone goal came with 13 minutes to go, as Schultz dribbled through the Mound-Westonka defense for a shot that was deflected wide by the White Hawk’s goalie. Junior Marcel Montiel beat the goalie to ball to put it past him for the score.
Seim said the team is successful because they are composed on the ball and don’t panic late in games.
“We are just starting to learn how to attack as a team and figure out where the other teams are vulnerable in the defense,” he said.
The Wildcats, still undefeated this season, know they are now wearing a target on their backs.
“We know that every team is going to get up to play us this season so we have to be consistent and not let our emotions take over and continue to be smart players in close games,” Seim said.
Waconia is home all this week, beginning with Shakopee on Saturday, and finishing with Delano, Holy Family, and Chaska on Tuesday, Thursday, and next Saturday.