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FRCC boys’ soccer unbeatens battle to draw

By Greg Bates

GREEN BAY – In a battle of unbeatens in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC), not a whole lot was determined.

The Green Bay Preble boys’ soccer team got the majority of opportunities to move ahead in the conference race, but a second-half goal by Bay Port knotted up the game.

Both teams couldn’t bury a game-winning goal – well, without a referee whistle blowing – as Preble and Bay Port played to a 1-1 tie at Preble on Tuesday.

“It could have gone either way,” Preble coach Chris Becker said. “I’m sure (Bay Port coach Travis Herber) probably thought they could have taken a couple of opportunities to win that game. We actually scored, and I don’t know about the call, we’ll see. I’ll have to look at the film to see what it looked like. They had a good wave in the second half and had some good momentum. We couldn’t get through without a goal. When they got their goal and things evened out, then we had the advantage and we got more opportunities. I thought we were going to get one.”

The disallowed goal Becker referred to happened in the 61st minute of play.

With the game tied, Preble scored after the ball bounced inside the congested 18-yard box after a corner kick.

Bay Port goalie Brady Wazny made every effort but couldn’t stop the ball from finding the back of the net.

Becker made sure he received a thorough explanation from the referee on the no-goal.

“They said there was a player in an offsides position that impeded the goalie from making a play on the ball, so that’s why,” Becker said. “People can be in an offside position as long as they’re not involved in the play. (The referee) felt since (the player) was potentially obstructing the keeper, then he’s involved in the play, which makes him offsides.”

Playing on Preble’s field was a feeling-out process for Bay Port.

Preble’s field measures about 55 1/2 yards wide compared to most fields being approximately 65 yards.

“This is a tough field to play on,” Herber said. “It’s a lot narrower than we’re used to, so it’s going to be a tough battle every time you play Preble, one. And two, it’s their field. We’re not going to play our style of soccer; it’s going to be who wants it more. You can see the intensity from us coaches to the fans to the players. When Bay Port and Preble, for the last couple years, get on the same field, it’s who wants it more and who’s going to get that lucky bounce or lucky opportunity.”

Preble (5-0-1) put pressure on Bay Port’s defense early and often.

The Hornets, ranked No. 7 in Division 1 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll, finally broke through in the 22nd minute as senior Cesar Cortez scored off a deflection following a free-kick.

“We got a lot of free-kicks, and we knew if we kept playing the ball in the box, something good was going to happen,” Becker said. “Sam Hummel played a great ball and Cesar was unbelievable. He was able to trap that ball right on his foot, make a tap and finish strong. It was two great plays, one a great ball and the touch and finish were awesome.”

Trailing by a goal, Bay Port (5-0-2) hung tough.

The Pirates tied the game in the 48th minute as senior Payton Schilz came through with the tally.

“It was a quick crossover, which we always like to do – switch the possession field and it came over and we were able to do a one-time shot,” Herber said. “If I’m not mistaken, it flicked off one of our guys, and the other guy ran on.”

In a game featuring two strong teams, neither squad flinched and played hard all 80 minutes.

“These types of games, you can’t give up,” Herber said. “Their goal was a simple thing, an unmarked guy. Our goal was an unmarked opportunity. If you look at how well these two teams are, there was nothing that was a spectacular goal or a spectacular shot, it was some garbage that both of us were able to finish.”

Wazny registered two saves in the game for Bay Port, while Preble goalie Jay Gumz had to stop only one shot.

Herber said he and his players can take away plenty of positives from the game.

“That we can compete,” he said. “They’re ranked in the top 10. We were ranked. Our tie against Hortonville bumped us out. I know we can beat this team. I know if we can get on a field where we can spread them out and get our outside backs into the game, it’s going to take to our advantage.”

Becker said he realized a few areas his team needs to shore up before more big home matches for Preble.

“This is our first time playing on our small field, and we have some other big games coming up on this field,” Becker said. “Getting used to playing on a small field and staying wide. We got jammed in the middle. Both teams struggled to possess the ball as much as they would have liked in the middle, so we had to play a bit more long ball than we wanted to.”

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