In the last game of the season, played at Chanhassen on Oct. 5, the Waconia boys’ soccer team had its first, and only, loss of the regular season. In the 2-1 loss, WHS head coach Tyrel Seim said the ‘Cats knew they would be challenged, facing the state-ranked Class AA Storm.
“We played a very good team and have come a long way this season on playing quality team soccer and not just relying on our individual skills to get by,” Seim said. “The loss taught us a lot and showed that two mental lapses by our team on defense is the different between a 1-0 win and a 2-1 loss against a good team.”
Seim said the first 20 minutes were tough as Waconia adjusted to Chanhassen’s turf field. The Storm controlled most of the first half and scored with seven minutes remaining. WHS senior goalie John Rogers nearly saved the penalty kick, but the ball deflected in for a 1-0 halftime score in favor of the Storm.
The second half was much better for WHS, according to Seim, as the ‘Cats were able to turn the pressure onto Chanhassen.
Senior free-kick specialist Mason Tuttle, a senior, put the ‘Cats on the board with a 40-yard free kick to tie the game at 1-1. But the Storm would win the game with six minutes remaining, going over the WHS defense to find an open Chanhassen attacker who put the ball past Rogers.
Seim said the Storm were a quality squad to help WHS prepare for sections.
“Chanhassen was a good game to prepare us for the postseason which our section is like our own state tournament with three teams in the Top 10 and that doesn’t include the other good programs like Holy Family, Chaska, and Orono,” Seim said.
Earlier in the week, Waconia shut down Hutchinson 7-1 on Oct. 1.
With their 13-1-2 overall record, the Wildcats drew the No. 2 seed for the Section 6A tournament, which began Tuesday. Breck drew the No. 1 seed and Seim said there is no clear favorite in the playoffs this year.
The Mustangs of Breck, the team the Wildcats had to defeat to win Section 6A last season and advance to the state tournament, will surely pose a challenge again in 2013. The Mustangs finished the regular season 14-2 and finished third in the Tri-Metro Conference.
“It is going to take a lot of focus and discipline to advance through our section, but with the way we are playing we have a good chance to be the team to win sections,” he said.
Waconia earned a first round bye with the No. 2 seed and will host the victor of No. 7 Mound-Westonka/No. 10 Southwest Christian tonight. The winner of tonight’s game plays Saturday in the semifinals.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com