Soccer team earns number one spot
By Ted Heuring
photo by Ted Heuring
Michael Stoeger and Brendan Adolf compete against
UW-Washington Sep. 25.
UW-Fox men's soccer finished out their 2013 regular season undefeated, earning them the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Championship title. The Cyclones went on to finish second in state tournament.
The team's regular season performance also placed them as the number one seed going into the playoffs, which were hosted here at UW-Fox Valley.
Conference play officially began Sep. 14 with a 6-0 win against UW-Rock County. Freshman Cesar Hernandez led the team with three goals.
Head coach Lance G commented on his player's exceptional teamwork just weeks into the season.
"Team chemistry wise, this is probably the best team I have had," Gordon said.
According to UW-Fox athletic director Brandi Alonzo, coach Gordon's return also made a positive impact on the season.
"I am super excited to have [coach Gordon] back... with him at the helm this year, we are going to have a lot of success," Alonzo said.
Gordon left UW-Fox after the 2008 season and returned this fall after a successful coaching career in Ripon.
The next game was against UW-Waukesha. No goals were scored until early in the second half when freshman Devin Veith broke the tie.
The Cyclones maintained their 1-0 lead until UW-Waukesha tied it at 1-1 late in the game.
UW-Waukesha was assessed a red card when a player threw Hernandez to the ground, and the Cyclones immediately took advantage. Freshman Luke Van Hecke made a pass to teammate and fellow freshman Bryce Nicholson, who headed the ball into the net for the game winner.
"It was real nice to come back, this is my first game I've played since my senior year [of high school] when I broke my leg. It was nice to put a ‘W' on the board," Nicholson said.
The Cyclones first away game Sep. 20 was a 5-1 win against Silver Lake.
"It was a tale of two halves, we got away from our game plan a bit and were down at the half 1-0," Gordon said.
The Cyclones scored all five of their goals in the second half.
Their next away game at UW-Baraboo was one of the closest matches of the season.
"Baraboo is a very tough team, they are about one player away from being best in the conference. They are very skilled defensively and very difficult to score against, they are well coached and well organized," Gordon said.
At the 18-minute mark, Baraboo scored first and led 1-0 going into halftime. Early in the second half, freshman Sam Reynebeau scored tying the game at 1-1. It remained tied at the end of regulation and went into overtime.
Shortly after being subbed in freshman Bryce Nicholson scored the game winning goal.
"The signs were obvious and we could definitely tell they were fatigued. We could tell we were wearing them down and I wanted some fresh legs in there," Gordon said.
At home against UW-Washington, Cesar Hernandez scored four goals in the first half, all of which were scored using his head.
"I don't think I've ever seen that done in a game, especially by the same person... I think Cesar is the best player in the conference," Gordon said.
Devin Veith added another goal and the Cyclones won 5-1.
Hernandez sat out the second half due to a leg cramp but credited his teammates for their assists during the first half of play.
"In the first half my teammates gave me some amazing crosses and I was able to finish... I'm happy that [coach Gordon] thinks I'm that good of a player, but I have to prove it on the field and finish the season. Hopefully at the end of the season he can say that again," Hernandez said.
The Cyclones continued their season by taking consecutive wins against UW-Richland and Silver Lake. Freshman Devin Veith scored three goals in both games.
Due to lack of players UW-Marathon forfeited their next game, leaving the Cyclones with two more regular season matches.
The Cyclones hosted UW-Sheboygan Oct. 4, guaranteeing the Conference Championship with a 3-0 win.
The Cyclones finished their undefeated season in an away game against UW-Fond Du Lac, defeating them 6-1.
"This has probably been one of my favorite seasons in coaching…this is a team, you can have guys who show up and represent a school, but this group of guys is actually a team first. It's not often you see that, and when you do it's usually on the championship teams," Gordon said.
"This was much better than last season. We took it to every team and were competitive from day one, we worked hard and it paid off in a big way," sophomore co-captain Michael Stoeger said.
"I thought [the season] was phenomenal. We came out wanting to prove something to every other team, we wanted to come out and beat every team. Some games it was close, but other ones you could tell we were very determined, and I think we made a statement by taking conference," freshman co-captain James Basiliere said.
Basiliere also commented on the team's goals going into the playoffs.
"From the very first practice I think the championship is what everyone's goal has been. We are all hungry for it, we want it and I think anything less than that is going to be disappointing," Basiliere said.
Playoffs began Oct. 12, for results and scores, visit www.uwfox.uwc.edu/athletics.