MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Oct. 8–Oct. 15)
PREP BOYS SOCCER: Platteville/Lancaster 2, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 0
PLATTEVILLE — Dodgeville/Mineral Point made Platteville/Lancaster work for it, but in the end superior talent and defense won out.
Junior forward Kaydan Addie and senior midfielder Kengkue Xiong each scored second-half goals to lift the Hillmen to a 2–0 victory last Thursday afternoon at PHS.
The Platteville/Lancaster co-op improved to 11–1–1 on the season and 6–0 in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference to clinch a third straight conference title.
“Dodgeville came out with a really nice game plan that made this a tricky match for us,” said Hillmen head coach Brandon Pink. “They packed a lot of numbers in critical areas and forced us to work very hard to break them down. It was also a night where we weren’t firing on all cylinders offensively.
“Kudos to our guys, though. They never lost faith in the team and the system, and they didn’t panic. They stayed patient, kept executing, and kept limiting Dodgeville’s attacks when they won the ball. We knew if we kept hammering away, we’d break through eventually.”
Platteville/Lancaster outshot the Dodgers (4–6–1, 3–2–1 SWC) 22–1 in the match, but didn’t breakthrough for the first goal until the final 45 minutes.
“It came later than we would have liked, but Kaydan touched the ball over the line after a goal-line scramble, then Kengkue hit a swerving laser of a shot not long after that sealed the match,” said Pink. “I told the guys after the game that one mark of a good team is that they win even when they don’t play well. That was us. This victory was down to patience, persistence, and resilience.”
“Winning the conference title was a major goal for us this season, and we are so proud to be carrying home the trophy again,” added Pink. “We deliberately try to schedule tough non-conference opposition, so it can be difficult to maintain a dual focus of being competitive on both fronts. It’s doubly difficult because, as defending champions, we had a big target on our back. We get our opponent’s best effort every conference match. The guys maintained a fantastic level of focus and dedication to wrap up the title early. I’m so proud of them.”
The Hillmen had a much easier time against Prairie du Chien last Tuesday night in a 10–0 shutout.
Addie had three goals and three assists in the victory. Xiong added a pair of goals and two assists.
Charles Franklin, Nick Kroll, Aaron Murphy, Ryder Arians and Evan Mehirter also scored in the match for the Hillmen.
Michael Fields needed just two saves to record the shutout.
The Hillmen hosted Prairie du Chien on Tuesday and will now host Richland Center Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in a makeup match from Oct. 1 before closing out the regular season Friday at home against Viroqua Driftless United.
Platteville/Lancaster earned the four seed in its half-sectional of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs and will host #13 Dodgeville/Mineral Point in a regional semifinal Thursday, Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. at PHS.
With a win, the Hillmen will advance to host either #5 Evansville or #12 La Crosse Logan in a D3 regional final Saturday, Oct. 26.
“We have a few things we want to focus on for the rest of the regular season,” added Pink. “One of the big things is continuing to distribute playing time around to build confidence and experience up and down our depth chart. We also want to continue to execute at a high level. We don’t to view these last few games as meaningless. We feel that momentum is something we can continue to build throughout these games. We also saw in the Dodgeville game that a well-executed deep defensive strategy is something we struggle against. We will be working through that in training and trying out some things in games to try to counter that in preparation for hosting Dodgeville in the first round of playoffs.”
Platteville/Lancaster 2, Dodgeville/Mineral Point 0
(from Thursday, Oct. 10 @ Platteville)
Dodgeville/Mineral Point..0 0 — 0
Platteville/Lancaster..........0 2 — 2
First half — none.
Second half — P/L: Kadan Addie (Sam Schaffer), Kengkue Xiong.
Saves — P/L: Michael Fields 0, D/MP: Dylan Wasley 9. Shots (shots on Goal) — P/L: 22 (11), D/MP: 1 (0). Corner kicks — P/L: 3, D/MP: 0.