Streaking Columbus soccer rolls toward playoffs
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – Early in the season the Marshfield Columbus Catholic soccer team knew it would be a contender in the Mid-State Soccer Conference title chase.
With a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Stevens Point Pacelli on Monday, the Dons (11-3-3) entered Thursday’s conference finale at winless Northland Lutheran with a chance to wrap up their first conference title in a decade.
After a nonconference game at home against Gresham/Bowler on Friday, the Dons head into WIAA postseason play next week. Regional pairings and playoff brackets were announced Thursday.
Columbus Catholic had nine shutouts in its 11 victories prior to Thursday and two more that resulted in 0-0 draws.
In the playoffs it will all start with the Dons’ defense.
“Recently we’ve been playing really well. If we keep playing like this, I think we can go pretty far this season,” Columbus Catholic senior forward Sean McCarthy said. “We’ve been playing like this all season, but we did take it to another level in the second half. Mid-season, every year, we always have a talk that always seems to boost us a little bit.”
McCarthy leads the Dons’ offense with 20 goals, but many others have contributed throughout the season.
The Dons have not lost since falling 2-1 at Pacelli on Sept. 12, going 5-0-2 prior to Thursday’s game.
The win against the Cardinals not only avenged that loss—Columbus’ lone Mid-State defeat this season—but was important to both playoff seeding and the team’s confidence. Columbus lost to Pacelli in last year’s Division 4 sectional semifinal.
“This game was a big game here to win the conference,” Columbus Catholic coach Jeff Edwards said. “We have Gresham/Bowler on Friday, which will be a good test for us. We might see them in the playoffs. I don’t know how many of the starters I will play that night, but it is Senior Night, and we’ll give them their due, but I don’t want to give away too much in that game.”
Edwards said he is happy with how the team has come together, especially at the most pivotal part of the season.
“This team is gelling right when we need them to,” Edwards said. “Everyone is working hard. Everyone knows their roles on the team. I couldn’t be happier for this team. They have earned the conference title this year.”
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.