By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield Columbus Catholic and La Crosse Aquinas played even for nearly the entire first half, but a late goal by the Blugolds turned the tide in their favor.
Evan Weber scored with 38 seconds left in the half, and Aquinas added two more goals in a span of 2:10 to squeeze past the Dons 3-1 in a WIAA Division 4 boys soccer sectional semifinal on Thursday afternoon at Griese Park.
The Dons end their season with a 14-2-3 record, and Aquinas (10-7-5) moves on to the sectional final at Cumberland on Saturday against Barron, which was a 5-0 winner over McDonell/Regis on Thursday. The winner of Saturday’s game qualifies for the 2015 WIAA State Boys Soccer Tournament in Milwaukee next week.
“With the wind pretty strong in the first half, if we could get into the half tied, we would have been cool with that,” Columbus Catholic coach Jeff Edwards said. “They got that one with under a minute left, and it kind of knocked us on our heels a little bit. They were pretty down at halftime, and we had to pump them up a bit.
“We came out OK (in the second half), and we had another defensive breakdown, and you kind of knew. We weren’t generating the offense that we normally do.”
Christian Von Weiss scored at the 72:14 mark, and Weber scored again just 2:10 later to push the Blugolds to a 3-0 lead against Columbus’ backup goalkeeper, Kellen Heinzen. Heinzen replaced starter Bailey Keffer, who left late in the first half with a leg injury.
Columbus fought back immediately, Farid Torbey scoring off an assist from Charles Payant only 29 seconds after Aquinas’ third goal, but that was all the Dons could muster.
“They played the right defense to stop us,” Edwards said. “We scouted them, they scouted us, and they knew what they were doing. They played an excellent game.”
Three seniors — Torbey, Alexandra Hutchison, and Matthias Gouin — played their final game for the Dons, who came into the season with uncertainty and ended up only losing twice.
“We had a pow-wow to start the season, and the kids I think would have been happy getting through the first round of the playoffs, winning maybe 12 games,” Edwards said. “We surpassed our expectations. They came together as a team. We didn’t have that go-to player, and everyone stepped up. We had a number of players with double-digit goals, double-digit assists. It was just a great, great season.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
Blugolds 3, Dons 1
Aquinas 1 2 – 3
Columbus Catholic 0 1 – 1
First half: 1. A, Evan Weber (Zach Schneider), 44:22.
Second half: 2. A, Christian Von Weiss (Sean Dee), 72:14; 3. A, Weber (Dee), 74:24; 4. CC, Farid Torbey (Charles Payant), 74:53.
Saves: A, Andrew Gunderson 5; CC, Bailey Keffer 2, Kellen Heinzen 4.
Records: Aquinas 10-7-5; Columbus Catholic 14-2-3.