Columbus Catholic soccer shuts out Pacelli, takes control of Mid-State Soccer Conference
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – In a must-win situation to keep its conference championship hopes alive, the Marshfield Columbus Catholic soccer team stayed persistent with its offensive attack and early in the second half, it paid off.
After a scoreless first half, Charles Payant and Sean McCarthy scored goals in the first six minutes of the second half and the Dons went on to a 2-0 victory over Stevens Point Pacelli on Monday at Figi’s Field at Griese Park.
With the victory, Columbus Catholic avenges its only conference loss of the season, which came at Pacelli 2-1 on Sept. 12. The Dons are now 11-3-3 overall and 9-1-1 in the Mid-State Soccer Conference and will clinch the conference title with a victory at winless Northland Lutheran on Thursday.
“We just wanted to try to play a physical game and matchup with their physicality,” Columbus Catholic coach Jeff Edwards said. “They are a very physical team too, and we kind of backed off from them last time we played them. We wanted to try to equal their intensity and I thought we did a very good job of that today.”
The Dons peppered Pacelli goalkeeper Patrick Rath throughout the game, but couldn’t get anything past him in the first half.
Rath stymied a shot from Alexandra Hutchison in front of the goal at the 17-minute mark and stoned a McCarthy shot from point-blank range in the 37th minute to keep the game scoreless.
The Dons finally got two to fall early in the second half as they kept up their offensive pressure.
Payant ripped a shot head-on from 25 yards out that got past Rath on the right side of the net 3:08 into the second half.
Just 3:02 later, McCarthy floated one from left to right past Rath to put Columbus up 2-0.
“Going into halftime we were happy with it 0-0,” Edwards said. “We knew we were getting shots, we knew we were getting openings. We were a little concerned with the wind and then it died down in the second half and that was helpful for us. To get that goal right away in the second half was an icebreaker and relaxed everyone.”
From there, the Dons defense held strong, giving up just three shots in the second half on their way to their 11th shutout overall and ninth shutout victory of the season.
“The first time we played them we played really well, we just couldn’t finish on our opportunities,” McCarthy said. “We had wide-open goals and we missed by a couple of feet and were just shaking our heads. It was the same in the beginning of this game.
“We were getting so close and then at half we were like, ‘Come on guys, the same thing is happening as last game. We need to change this, we need to score.’”
Columbus closes its regular season with Thursday’s game at Northland Lutheran and a nonconference matchup against Gresham/Bowler at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Griese Park. The WIAA postseason begins next Tuesday. Brackets and first-round matchups will be announced Thursday.
Dons 2, Cardinals 0
Pacelli 0 0 – 0
Columbus Catholic 0 2 – 2
Second half: 1. CC, Charles Payant (Farid Torbey), 48:08; 2. CC, Sean McCarthy (Tara Brock), 51:10.
Saves: P, Patrick Rath 10; C, Evan Hansen 6.
Shots on goal: Pacelli 6; Columbus Catholic 12.
Records: Stevens Point Pacelli 11-3-1, 8-3 Mid-State Soccer Conference; Marshfield Columbus Catholic 11-3-3, 9-1-1 MSSC.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).