While rolling to top honors at Cedar Grove soccer invite, Port enjoys break from rigors of tough regular-season schedule
There’s nothing like a tournament title to rejuvenate a soccer team.
After struggling through an up-and-down season, the Port Washington boys’ squad made the most of its chances last Saturday in Cedar Grove and secured top honors at the annual Rocket Invitational.
The Pirates posted a 3-0 record in the eight-team tournament, capped by a 4-1 victory over Two Rivers in the championship game. They opened play with a 2-0 win over Omro and edged
Manitowoc Roncalli, 1-0, in the semifinals.
“After playing a lot of North Shore Conference teams from bigger schools, it was nice to get in a tournament against some from Division 2 and 3,” said Port coach Mike Bultman, whose team improved its overall season record to 8-11.
“We played some very good soccer, which made everybody feel a little better.”
In the title match, senior Marcus Lackovic scored a pair of first-half goals to help the Pirates take control. Mason Purtell assisted on the second goal and then netted a shot off a deflection to make it 3-0 at halftime.
After a goal by Danny Karrels made it 4-0 early in the second period, Port began to substitute freely. Two Rivers averted a shutout with a late score.
In the semifinals, Port and Roncalli played to a scoreless first half, struggling with windy conditions. However, Alex Bello gave the Pirates the final word when he converted a header off a pass from Sam Dean midway through the second period.
Against Omro, Port got a goal from Bello in the first half and another by Karrels after intermission.
“We pretty much dominated play in both of the first two games but couldn’t finish,” Bultman said. “The wind was a big factor.”
Among other local teams in the tournament, Cedar Grove-Belgium placed third and Ozaukee was sixth.
The host Rockets opened with a 3-1 win over Living Word Lutheran, lost a shootout against Two Rivers in the semifinals and received a forfeit from Roncalli, which was unable to play the third-place match due to a schedule restriction.
“We played well in both of our games,” Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Jim Schmidt said. “We could have gotten to the final, but we couldn’t finish our chances against Two Rivers.”
After the semifinal game was scoreless through regulation, a shootout was used to determine which team advanced. Each squad converted four of its first five penalty kicks before Two Rivers prevailed on the sixth pairing.
Adam Koepsell, Tyler Garcia, Christian O’Donnell and Zac Garza each scored for the Rockets in the shootout.
Cedar Grove-Belgium used balanced offense to handle Living Word.
Koepsell opened the scoring with an unassisted goal and set up Kyle Kirst for a goal that gave the Rockets a 2-0 lead at halftime. Garza made it 3-0 with a solo shot in the second period before
Living Word got a wind-aided goal.
The invitational left Cedar Grove-Belgium with a 7-10-2 season record.
Ozaukee got its first win of the season in the tournament — a 3-1 victory over Living Word Lutheran in the consolation semifinals. In the process, the Warriors snapped a 40-game losing
streak that extended back to 2008.
“It was great to have the kids get that feeling of accomplishment,” said Ozaukee coach John Annis, whose team won for the first time in 19 games this season. “They’re a great group that’s worked very hard and deserves this.”
After losing to Two Rivers, 3-0, in the opening round, the Warriors outlasted Living Word. They held a 1-0 lead at halftime and pulled away after Living Word rallied to tie the game early in the second period.
Joey Leiphart had two goals for Ozaukee, and Luka Gasovic added another. Pat Kroening, Brad Collins and Nick Vogt were credited with assists.
The Warriors lost to Omro, 3-2, in the fifth-place final. Leiphart scored twice for Ozaukee, which fell behind early before rallying to stay in contention.
Leiphart increased his team-leading goal total for the season to nine.
CG-Belgium falls twice in CLC play
The Rockets lost to a pair of tough Central Lakeshore Conference foes for the second time this season last week — falling to Kohler, 4-1, on Sept. 30, and to Sheboygan Christian, 3-1, two
“We played them both pretty even, but couldn’t catch a break,” Schmidt said.
Against Kohler, Cedar Grove-Belgium fell behind, 2-0, but halved the deficit when Kirst scored off a long punt by goalkeeper Justin DeSmidt. The Blue Bombers took control with two second-half goals.
Christian had its hands full against the Rockets, who rallied from a 1-0 deficit to pull even on an unassisted goal by Koepsell early in the second period. However, the Eagles pulled away with goals from Garret Klotzbuecher in the 66th and 72nd minutes.
The losses left Cedar Grove-Belgium with a 5-7 record in CLC play.
Ozaukee drops two league games
The Warriors showed improvement in a pair of CLC games last week but lost to Sheboygan Lutheran on Sept. 30, two days after being blanked, 5-0, at Oostburg.
The loss to Lutheran dropped Ozaukee to 0-13 in the conference.
This week, Cedar Grove-Belgium and Ozaukee both continued CLC play Monday (see related story) and will conclude their league schedules Thursday — when the Warriors host Kohler at
4:30 p.m. and the Rockets have a 7 p.m. game at Howards Grove.
Both local teams will open WIAA Division 3 tournament play Oct. 12.
CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUM forward Adam Koepsell dribbled past a Living Word Lutheran defender in a quarterfinal game at last Saturday’s Rocket Invitational. Koepsell scored the first goal in a 3-1 win by his team, which finished third in the tournament. Photo by Sam Arendt