By Rich Palzewic
ASHWAUBENON – The De Pere boys’ soccer team showed it’s a force to be reckoned with in the Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC), while Ashwaubenon showed its growing pains.
Backed by a big first half, the Redbirds dominated the conference clash at Ashwaubenon High School on Sept. 19, 8-0.
De Pere (7-2-1 overall, 2-0 FRCC) scored five first-half goals before netting another three in the second half to pull away for the victory.
The Jaguars (0-10-1, 0-2) hung tough for the first 17 minutes of the game, but the Redbirds scored back-to-back goals in a 2-minute, 37-second span to jump ahead 2-0.
Andrew Cartier popped in a goal at 17:39 before James Dorchester added another at the 20:16 mark.
“Patience is key,” De Pere Coach Martin Valenzuela said. “Now is the time we have to focus because it’s now game after game, and we get into the thick of our conference schedule.”
Things stayed close until Dorchester scored two more goals in the 38th minute to push the advantage to 4-0.
The Redbirds added their fifth goal of the half with three seconds remaining when Madden Skurka knocked one in from close range off a corner kick.
“I thought we started off strong,” first-year Ashwaubenon Coach Zach Jakel said. “We were communicating well — we’ve made strides from the beginning of the season. In our (5-0) loss to Notre Dame (on Sept. 12), we also hung in there for a while.”
The Jaguars have been shut out five times so far this season and have scored only nine combined goals.
In the second half, Dorchester ended the game via the mercy rule in the 74th minute, 8-0.
“I’ve not scored four goals in a game before,” Dorchester said. “Even with a score like we had, you have to keep playing like it’s 0-0 — all games are meaningful. It doesn’t matter who the competition is, I keep playing my game.”
The Jaguars also came out strong in the second half — something Jakel said his team can build on.
“We had a nice start in the second half, but then lost the momentum and started playing slow-footed,” he said. “Against good teams like De Pere, we learn from our mistakes. We have a good group of seniors and a small junior class. We’re trying to build our numbers — soccer is a growing sport, so hopefully, in the next few years, we can build the program. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
Valenzuela said his team has a nice balance.
“The two losses we’ve had (against Madison West and Homestead) were against the two best teams we’ve played, so they were losses we’ll take and grow off them,” he said. “Our goal is to win every game.”