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Second-half goal helps De Pere beat Preble

By Greg Bates
DE PERE – Coming off a tough loss to Fox River Classic Conference-leading Bay Port just two days earlier, the De Pere boys’ soccer team needed a bounce-back game.
With another high-caliber team coming to town, beating Green Bay Preble wasn’t going to be easy.
However, De Pere played a strong second half and scored the only goal in the final 40 minutes to eke out a 2-1 victory on Thursday at Cloud Family Field.
“Even from the start, I knew my boys were going to do the job,” De Pere coach Martin Valenzuela said. “Our boys were confident and they had the ability to do it, the technical skills to do it and again after such a quality game against Bay Port, the confidence was there, just the result wasn’t. Today again, coming into halftime, we were there and they knew what they had to do and it was to go out and play
the game they know how to play.”
De Pere (11-4-4, 5-1-1 FRCC) set up for a corner kick early in the second half with the score tied 1-1. It was one of many opportunities in front of the net for the Redbirds.
“I dropped back, the ball bounced my way, saw a bunch of defenders. I kept it low, because that’s what we talked about in practice all week, just keeping our shots low and driving it,” De Pere junior defenseman Riley Nycz said. “I got a good rip on it, and just put it in the back of the net.”
Scoring at the 49:28 mark, the De Pere players felt confident they could hold off a feisty Preble squad.
Preble (8-5-5, 3-2-2 FRCC) had its chances, but De Pere goalie Brayden Coyle and his defense kept the Hornets at bay.
“With the wind really strong, I don’t think these guys adapted well,” Preble coach Chris Becker said. “I think we got unfortunate calls against us, so it’s frustrating for sure. … We had opportunities, it just didn’t fall for us.”
Nycz liked the way the defense clamped down in the second half.
“We’re a quality team and we trust our defense no matter up or down or no matter the situation,” Nycz said. “We did our job, we handled the game and got the win.”
De Pere opened the scoring in the first half. Henry Picard had a corner kick that bounced around in the 18-yard box and Jacob Calewarts kicked it in the net at 21:18.
Just when it was looking like the Redbirds were going to go into halftime with the lead, the Hornets struck. Abraham Navarro had a nice touch pass in the box to Rueben Contreras, who finished on the play with a goal at 36:48.
Preble came into the game shorthanded with four starters out with injuries. Mid-second half, Hornets goalie Fernando Calzada was helped off the field with what coach Becker thought was a quad injury.
With its backup goalie not being able to make the game, forward Hudson Schaetz — who hadn’t played goalie since he was an eighth-grader, according to Becker — was inserted into the net. He didn’t allow a goal in the final 28 minutes of the game.
De Pere’s win keeps them just one point back of conference-leading Bay Port with two FRCC games remaining.
Seedings for postseason will be released this Sunday with Division 1 regional matchups starting on Oct. 18.
The Redbirds have three regular-season games left before playoffs. Coach Valenzuela would like his player to continue to build their intensity.
“Continue the intensity throughout every game and make sure we don’t slow down, because every game they always build, they always grow throughout the game,” Valenzuela said. “We need to continue that throughout the season and start adding as much consistency, because that’s how you win games.”

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