By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Columbus Catholic soccer team is right where it wants to be heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.
Prior to Tuesday’s nonconference loss to McDonnell/Regis, the Dons had won six games in a row and are now 13-4-1 overall and 10-1 in the Central Wisconsin Conference, one point behind Amherst/Iola-Scandinavia (10-0-1) for first place.
While the Dons’ high-scoring offense may garner most of the attention, a strong defense has been equally — if not more — important.
In addition to five shutouts, Columbus has allowed more than two goals just three times this season, keeping the Dons in most every game. The all-around balance of the team has Columbus in contention for its third conference title in the past four seasons.
“It will be interesting here,” Columbus coach Jeff Edwards said. “If we win out, we can win conference again. It would be nice to do. We’re thankful for Northland Lutheran tying Amherst, and they have to still play them again, so who knows what will happen there.”
The Dons host Wisconsin Valley Lutheran on Thursday, play at Tri-County on Oct. 9, and finish the regular season at home in a much anticipated rematch with Amherst/Iola-Scandinavia/Rosholt, the only team to beat Columbus in conference play. The Falcons won the first matchup 2-1 on Sept. 18.
Junior Nadim Torbey has been the leader of the offense, pouring in 32 goals in the Dons’ first 16 games. Senior Calvin Brown and junior Evan Dieringer have also been main cogs in the offensive machine.
Edwards said he is especially pleased with the improvement from a number of younger players that have stepped up when needed throughout the season.
“We’ve been working on depth,” Edwards said. “Instead of a bench of one or two, we have three or four that I’m able to put in there to play significant minutes, and we don’t drop off as much.
“Addison Baierl has really stepped up, Ella Schultz has stepped up, and we just got Dylan Porter back from a hip injury. We just did not have the reserves that we needed. They were either injured or still learning the varsity game as sophomores. Now it’s starting to come around, and we have a deeper bench, which is extremely helpful so that I don’t have to wear these guys out so much.”