Preble, De Pere soccer battle to tie
By Greg Bates
DE PERE – The De Pere and Green Bay Preble boys’ soccer teams were originally supposed to play May 6, but the game was moved up one month.
So, instead of having a late-season showdown between two of the top teams in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC), it happened on the first game of the conference schedule Tuesday, April 6.
De Pere coach Dusty Rhodes said he hoped the game would have more implications, but it was important enough early in the season.
“I told the guys after the game, ‘We’ve been in this conference long enough to know if you lose a game, you’re pretty much out of the chance to win conference,’” Rhodes said.
After the opening game, De Pere is still in contention to win the FRCC, but so is Preble.
That’s because the teams battled to a 3-3 tie, not determining much in the conference standings.
“It was two great teams, back and forth – each had opportunities,” Preble head coach Chris Becker said. “We finished some, they finished some. It’s probably a good result. We both had opportunities to win, so having a tie is the result it deserved.”
Rhodes also agreed with Becker.
“It was a good game,” Rhodes said. “I was proud of our guys going down 3-1 after being up 1-0, to fight back to a 3-3 tie. We had a chance to put it away there at the end. There are a few things we’ve got to clean up, but we’re going to be a tough team to beat this year.”
De Pere (2-0-1) got on the scoreboard first when Kevin Ramirez found the back of the net 28 minutes into the game.
Ten minutes later, Preble (2-1-1) tied it when Brandon Ramirez beat De Pere goalie Jack Rosner.
In the second half, the Hornets netted the first two goals to go up 3-1.
In the 57th minute, Sergio Garcia scored on a deflected shot.
Next, Garcia’s teammate, Carter Wiernasz, tallied a goal with 13:26 remaining in regulation.
Down a pair of goals with time running out, the veteran De Pere squad comprised of 12 seniors went to work.
Just 1:07 after the Hornets’ third goal, the Redbirds’ Will Dwyer received a pass from Derrek Valenzuela and ripped a shot by Preble goalkeeper Mathias Lyons.
The quick-striking De Pere offense scored the equalizer 2 minutes, 59 seconds later.
Freshman James Dorchester worked his way toward the net and beat Lyons to tie the game.
“Two-goal leads are dangerous,” Becker said. “That second one, our defense got caught pushing up too much. De Pere is faster than us – their forwards are faster than our defenders. Once they started beating us there, we had to make some adjustments and had our defense play back a little more. It worked lots better after that.”
Rhodes was complimentary of the Hornets.
“Preble did a good job of getting us out of our game,” Rhodes said. “We’re more of a possession-based breakdown team, and they got us to play a more up-and-down pace, which spread our lines and create holes. Once we settled back down and started to get back into our game, we were able to find the opportunities to score again.”