Wauwatosa West boys soccer starts season 2-1
Team beats Prairie School, Homestead, loses to Bay
The Wauwatosa East soccer team opened the season with a 2-1 week, beating Racine Prairie School, 2-1, losing to Whitefish Bay, 2-0, and beating Homestead, 2-0.
East opened the week with the win over The Prairie School on Aug. 20 at Whitman Field.
Sophomore Ben Prange scored the Raiders' first goal of the season in the 27th minute on a brilliant assist by junior midfielder David O'Keeffe. On the possession that led to the goal, the Raiders strung a sequence of eight passes together in the attacking third.
"I don't think you could have opened the season on any better note than that," coach Eric Dale said. "We are trying to become a team that plays confident, possession soccer and that goal was incredibly well built."
The Raiders would add a second goal early in the second half when junior forward John Ensch combined with Prange for a very opportunistic goal.
Prairie misplayed a ball away, Prange collected it and connected with Ensch, who played a slotted ball right back to him. Prange finished the run with a good finish to the far post.
Prairie would answer with a goal of their own in the 62nd minute, but the Raiders were able to close out the victory with sound defense and good possession in the waning minutes of the match.
"I was especially proud of the many players who were playing their first significant minutes in a varsity match," Dale said.
Two days later the Red Raiders dropped a 2-0 decision to Whitefish Bay at Whitman Field.
Bay converted the first goal on a heads-up play in the midfield. After punching a ball out of the penalty box, Raiders keeper Kyle Mabie found himself scrambling back to the goal mouth after Bay midfielder JT Roemer alertly one timed the deflected punch back at goal from 30 yards out.
Mabie managed to get an outstretched hand on the ball as he retreated, but the well-timed shot found the back of the net anyway.
In the 57th minute, Bay would tally the decisive blow when Joey Borris served a long diagonal ball to Bay attacker Paul Kwidt running onto goal. Kwidt collected the ball and played the ball past Mabie who was coming out to take away the angle.
The Raiders were able to bounce back Saturday afternoon with a convincing 2-0 win over North Shore Conference opponent Homestead at Whitman Field.
The Raiders came out a tad bit sluggishly against the Highlanders but lit up the scoreboard in the 29th minute when Prange once again caused trouble for a defense.
Beating several players from the outside and serving from the endline back to the middle of the penalty box, Prange deftly found junior forward Nathan Schoen who blasted the shot into the upper netting from short distance.
"It was an incredible effort by Ben simply to get that deep into the box," Dale said. "He has got a burst that helps to separate himself from defenders, and whenever we can find Nathan coming at goal like that, it's automatic."
Prange worked his magic again with two minutes left in the match.
Sophomore midfielder Tommy Zalewski played an excellent thorough ball from near midfield and watched as Prange went forward to goal with a Highlanders defender right on his hip. Prange was able to cut the ball back inside and beat the keeper with his left foot from 10 yards out.
"Many players were iron men this week with three matches, but Ben has really elevated his play from last season already," Dale said of Prange. "He will provide us with a serious threat alongside Nathan and John up top.
"Kudos to a lot of our players for playing nearly all 80 minutes in three matches this week, but that's the nature of a high school soccer season — fast and furious."
The junior varsity team won all three of its matches against Racine Prairie, Whitefish Bay, and Homestead this past week as well.
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