Seymour comes up one game short of state
By Rich Palzewic
SEYMOUR – Mother Nature wreaked havoc with the Seymour Thunder boys’ soccer team on Halloween Day.
Aided by 20 mph winds, Roncalli/Two Rivers defeated the Thunder 3-1 in the WIAA Division 2 sectional finals at Seymour High School.
Seymour (10-1), which came into the game undefeated, was looking to return to the state tournament for the second consecutive season.
“The cards weren’t in our favor today,” said Seymour head coach Todd Messner. “It’s always difficult when you get this close to your goal and come up one game short. We’ll probably look back at this game and think about the missed opportunities we had.”
The Thunder played with the wind in their favor during the first half but could only muster one goal in taking a 1-0 lead into the break.
Josh Prewitt beat Roncalli goalie Gregory Oberbroeckling in the 13th minute for the lone goal of the half.
“The game boils down to not scoring enough goals in the first half when we had the wind in our favor,” Messner said. “We had plenty of opportunities but couldn’t connect.”
Besides Prewitt’s goal, Teig Driessen had a trio of good looks in the opening half, but each time, his shot squirted slightly to the right of the goal.
Messner said he didn’t want to harp on his team at halftime despite the missed opportunities.
“Even though we had the lead, I knew it would be a big chore keeping Roncalli off the scoreboard in the second half – they’re a talented team,” he said.
After hitting the crossbar with a shot during the 59th minute, the Jets got a break a few minutes later when a Seymour defender committed a foul in the box.
Tyler Bonin knocked home the penalty kick past goalie Samuel Kilsdonk to tie the game at 1-1 in the 64th minute.
“I thought it was a weak PK (penalty kick) call,” said Messner. “I was told it was shoulder-to-shoulder contact, so I was confused by the call.”
Roncalli scored two more goals – one in the 66th minute and another in the 83rd minute to put the game away.
“You have to give them credit for putting two more in,” Messner said. “Despite their goals, I thought we looked better going into the wind during the second half than how Roncalli looked in the same situation in the first half. They didn’t get close to our goal before half. The whole game was dictated by the wind. We couldn’t focus on what we needed to do in the second half.”
Seymour was one of the few area teams to complete its season, but it wasn’t an easy task.
“You can’t lose sight of the fact we got to play when many others didn’t,” said Messner. “Our school did a great job getting things in place for us to play. I feel fortunate we got our season in.”
Four games into the season, the Thunder had to pause because of COVID-19 issues.
“I wasn’t sure we’d make it at that point,” Messner said. “Things weren’t looking too good. We came back and worked hard in practice. The kids needed something positive in their lives, so I’m grateful we got to play 11 games.”
Messner, the head coach at Seymour since 2002, said this season was the most difficult by far.
“If you would have told me a few years ago this is what the 2020 season would look like, I would have said that was crazy,” he said. “We had to deal with a lot. Not knowing how things would go was the hardest part.”
Messner said the five seniors – Shane Doxtator, Prewitt, Ashton Rasmussen, Joshua Klemp and Elijah Ryan – will be missed.
“This senior group is the only group I’ve had to win a Bay Conference championship all four years,” he said. “They won four regional championships as well and were hungry for more. I admire what those boys did – they are great role models and had a great work ethic.”