Wolves outplay Gresham-Bowler 6-0

Wildcats focus on playoffs next
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Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham-Bowler freshman Raven Bennett steals the ball during Thursday’s 6-0 loss to Wisconsin Valley Lutheran at Gresham.

Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Gresham-Bowler senior Todd Otradovec outruns Wisconsin Valley Lutheran players during Gresham-Bowler’s 6-0 loss at Gresham on Thursday.

After defeating Wisconsin Valley Lutheran twice earlier this year, Gresham-Bowler fell 6-0 to the Wolves in its regular season finale at home Thursday.

The Wildcats went into halftime of the nonconference match trailing by two, but WVL kept the ball near goalkeeper Justice Paiser for the majority of the second half.

“Justice (Paiser) was the main part of our defense tonight,” Gresham-Bowler head coach Nate Boucher said. “He shouldn’t have had to see the ball as much as he did, but he was key to not letting them get more points than they did. He’s saved us a lot this season. Game scores, tonight included, would be much different without him protecting our net.”

The Wolves’ defenders, on the other hand, kept the ball from finding goalkeeper Rhein Zuelsdorff, who only had to make four saves in the second half compared to Paiser’s 10.

“I thought we should have matched up way better,” Boucher said. “Tonight, they came ready to play, and we just didn’t.”

Gresham-Bowler (8-9, 7-7 Central Wisconsin Conference) defeated the Wolves (7-6-3) 5-3 and 3-2, on a tie-breaker penalty shootout, earlier this season.

“This matchup is always good,” Wisconsin Valley Lutheran head coach Ron Covelli said. “The first time we played them they played us tough and beat us. This game we really focused on the passing game and it made a difference for us. This season we’ve been really hammering the give-and-go’s and through balls. We’ve got a couple of kids who are really fast, so we knew that if we can get the ball through, we can likely score.”

Connor Schubring and Coleton Schubring each tallied two goals for the Wolves. Cole Graff added another score in the second half, and Austin Pagel finished with a goal in the final two minutes.

Wisconsin Valley Lutheran defenders, meanwhile, outplayed the Wildcats’ strikers.

“Our biggest problems are making solid passes and trapping the ball,” Boucher said. “Especially when we get toward the goal, there’s a lack of communication.

“We can be pretty quick. I think we were quicker than their defense, but if you can’t control the ball then it’s not going to make a difference, and we couldn’t control it tonight.”

As the team looks ahead to the start of the WIAA playoffs on Tuesday, Boucher knows that a couple of improvements could be game-changers for the Wildcats.

“We’re going to be working a lot between now and then to control the ball and communicate,” he said. “They struggle with communication, and that’s key on the field, so that could be huge in making us better out there on the field. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.”