One – maybe two – long bus rides are in store for the Waupaca boys’ soccer team.
The Comets are seeded fifth in their Division 3 bracket and will open tournament play at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Minocqua against fourth-seeded Lakeland.
If the Comets are able to knock off the Thunderbirds, they would likely travel to Ashland two days later to play for a regional championship. The top-seeded Oredockers will host eighth-seeded Clintonville in the first round. Ashland is 19-1, have shut out 16 opponents and have allowed only four goals in its 20 games.
Waupaca wrapped up Eastern Valley Conference play Oct. 7 with a 3-0 win over Clintonville. The game, originally scheduled for Sept. 19, was suspended midway through the first half with the Comets up 2-0. David Rasmussen scored for Waupaca Oct. 7 in the first half.
“The big thing is we’re back to health and everyone’s head is where it needs to be,” coach Mat Lawniczak said. “I think that’s kind of where we suffered. We didn’t know what to do with a loss after starting off so strong. We had guys putting their heads down. Our goalie (Steven Canterbury) had a little rough patch. Steven let in a lot of goals, but this weekend (at the Waupun Invitational) he played hard and tough. We have him back.
“It’s frustrating losing five games in a row, basically,” he added. “Getting the guys off the bench stronger has helped our team immensely and I saw that this weekend. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”
Coaches at the seeding meeting originally had the Comets seeded fourth and the Thunderbirds fifth, which means that Waupaca would have hosted Lakeland in the first round of the tournament. However, Lakeland appealed and had the support of other Great Northern Conference coaches.
“We haven’t played them, but we’ve played a couple of teams that are in their conference,” Lawniczak said. “They’re going to be a tough team, but then again they kind of took a home game away from us by arguing where their seed spot was. I haven’t been gun shy about telling the guys exactly how things went. We’re going to take that little bit of anger into that game.”