Boys Soccer vs. Amery
Mission Accomplished: a state championship. Senior co-captain Matias Dermond led the University School boys’ soccer team to a state championship by scoring 2 goals in the WIAA 2018 Division 4 State tournament finals giving the Wildcats a 2-1 victory over the Amery Warriors on Saturday, November 3rd at the Uihlein Soccer Complex in Milwaukee.
On a night’s whose temperature indicated the approach of winter the two teams ended their fall seasons in a close battle, the kind you’d expect to witness in a state championship final between the top two seeded teams in the D4 tournament.
The shot totals were nearly equal, 20 for USM, and 19 for Amery. The Wildcats were able to put one more of their shots into the net and that made the difference.
Dermond scored USM’s goals, but it was a full team effort that gave USM the victory over Amery. The Wildcats’ defense stifled the Warriors’ attacks. Senior co-captain Ethan Ford, senior Branden Hicks-Becker, sophomore Tommy Hayden, juniors Jordan Puetz and Kai Prawitz, and senior Carson Mogush consistently frustrated the Amery forwards, particularly their leading scorer, Galen Coy. Coy took several of Amery’s shots, but the defensive pressure by USM prevented him, and his fellow Warriors, from pin-pointing shots. Evan Bolton, USM’s goalkeeper, had to make only 3 saves as a result.
Amery had a decided advantage in corner kicks in the game. The Warriors took 9 corner kicks during the contest, while USM took 5. The Wildcats stopped all but one of those opportunities with tight man-marking and quick, clearing kicks to Dermond and fellow seniors Sam Mackey and Brodie Mutschler and to sophomore Donny Jones.
Senior co-captain Joey Wells stated the reason the Wildcats won the championship, “What a family the boys became over the course of this season. They pushed through the tough times and made the most of every situation. At the end, win or lose, we became such a tight knit family. Wouldn’t have wanted to bring home the championship with any other team.”
Dermond scored his first goal just 9:45 into the game and it gave his teammates the impetus they needed to go on to win. Deep in the Warriors’ end, Dermond took a throw in from Puetz near the left corner. Dermond turned and raced along the goal line toward the Amery net. With fancy foot work he forged his way past two defenders then zinged a shot past Mason Helbig, Amery’s goalie.
USM went ahead 2-0 later in the first half. Sophomore Donny Jones gained control of the ball near midfield and took off like a Kentucky Derby racehorse at the gun. He weaved his way through several Amery antagonists. As he approached the Amery penalty area, he moved to the left. Spotting Dermond in the center near the 18 yard line, Jones passed the ball over. Dermond took a touch, turned, and rocketed a shot just under the cross bar above the hands of Helbig who leaped in an attempt to stop the shot at 33:15.
The Warriors were stunned. They had not lost a game all season, entering the match with an 18-0-4 record. But they were winners, so they dug deep and kept going, making the Wildcats work to maintain the lead their captain had given them.
Amery finally scored a goal early in the second half. The Warriors scored when Bryce Gehrman got a foot on the ball during a scramble in front of the USM net during a corner opportunity. Gehrman knocked the ball across the goal line at 50:15.
The goal stimulated the Warriors’ efforts, but it also firmed the Wildcats’ determination. The final forty minutes of the game were closely contested, but neither team could change the score. So, when the buzzer sounded, the Wildcats gathered in a big team hug then accepted their state championship trophy, their second in five years of Division 4 state tournament play.
After the game, Jock Mutschler, USM’s head coach commented on the win, “I thought Branden and Fordo did a marvelous job marking Coy. I suspect that was the first match all season that he did not score. That was quite an achievement for the boys.”
Considering the family aspect of the win, Mutschler went on, “Matias wanted a state championship so that he and his brother, Nico, could be on equal footing in that regard. Now he's done it. The same goes for Joey and his brother, Jack, and Teddy Kies and his brother, Nelson.”
Mutschler added, “The fans were tremendous. Their support and encouragement during the week was meaningful and had a positive impact on the boys' approach to the matches versus Sturgeon Bay and Amery.”
He concluded by saying, “I gave Warrior Ribbons to every boy after the match. Everyone contributed to the team's success. I am confident that the vast majority of the boys had a positive soccer/sports experience, and that is the most important thing.”
The 2018 soccer season is now over. The two teams had much to be proud of. Amery returned to western Wisconsin with a record of 18-1-4. The Wildcats ended their championship run with a record of 18-2-1.
Team Time Goal Scorer Assist
USM 9:45 Matias Dermond
USM 33:15 Dermond Donny Jones
AM 50:15 Bryce Gehrman
Team Goalkeeper Saves
AM Mason Heibig 7
USM Evan Bolton 3