Marshfield boys soccer fights to tie with Stevens Point
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield boys soccer team didn’t get the victory it needed to keep its slim hopes alive for a conference championship, but it did put a dent into Stevens Point’s chances.
The Tigers scored two first-half goals and held on for a 2-2 tie against SPASH in a Wisconsin Valley Conference contest Tuesday at Figi’s Field at Griese Park.
Marshfield is now 10-7-3 overall and 5-4-2 in the conference (17 points) with its WVC finale set for Thursday at home against Wisconsin Rapids.
Stevens Point (7-2-6, 5-1-6 WVC) moves into first place in the conference with 21 points, one ahead of idle Wausau East. The Panthers are finished with their Valley season, while East plays at winless Merrill on Thursday in its finale. With a win, East will win the conference outright.
Marshfield held a 13-5 advantage in shots on goal and had two opportunities turned away in the final 2 minutes by SPASH’s reserve goalkeeper Matt Altmann, who was forced into duty with 14 minutes left due to an injury to starter Ryan Weber.
The Tigers were left frustrated by the tie, given that they dominated the ball for much of the game.
“We outplayed them, we definitely had possession for more than half of the game,” Marshfield senior Thomas Kruger said. “They got two lucky goals and we had a lot of opportunities. We should have finished two more and they should have had zero goals. But that’s the way the season has been so far and we have to live with it and focus on the playoffs.
“Conference is out of the picture and now it’s all geared toward next Tuesday (opening of the WIAA playoffs) and further on until state.”
Marshfield struck early when Weber whiffed on a kick attempt on the top of the goalie box and Chris Pahl beat him back to the ball and tapped in the game’s first goal just 4:20 into the contest.
Stevens Point came back to tie the game on a goal by Neil Cyran at the 19:57 mark, but the Tigers quickly went back ahead 3:26 later when Kruger drilled home a shot from 25 yards out to the lower right portion of the goal.
“We had a lot of really close chances that kind of slipped away from us,” Marshfield senior Ryan Hayes said. “They played really good defense, but I felt like we had a lot of chances that we should have put in that would have given us a better score.”
SPASH tied it back up at the 33:56 mark when Cristian McDonald lofted a free kick from 35 yards out over the head of Marshfield goalkeeper Trevyn Tham, making it 2-2.
Neither team was able to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the second half, leaving both squads disappointed.
“It’s the way our season has been,” Marshfield coach Steve McCann said. “Possession, shots, shots on goal, we tend to dominate that, we just don’t get it in the back of the net. We had some great opportunities, three chances in a row. Whether the defender made a beautiful chest save, some of the defenders made good headers to get it out, we had some great chances.”
The WIAA playoffs begin next Tuesday. Pairings for the tournament will be announced on Thursday.
Tigers 2, Panthers 2
Stevens Point 2 0 – 2
Marshfield 2 0 – 2
First half: 1. M, Chris Pahl, 4:20; 2. SP, Neil Cyran, 19:57; 3. M, Thomas Kruger (Alex Sainterme), 23:23; 4. SP, Cristian McDonald (free kick), 33:56.
Shots on goal: Stevens Point 5; Marshfield 13.
Saves: SP, Ryan Weber 8, Matt Altmann 3; M, Trevyn Tham 3.
Records: Stevens Point 7-2-6, 5-1-6 Wisconsin Valley Conference; Marshfield 1-7-3, 5-4-2 Wisconsin Valley Conference.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com).