Red card leaves Comets short-handed
By Greg Seubert
Not even the state’s top scorer could save the Waupaca boys’ soccer team.
Seth Boldt gave the Comets a 1-0 lead over Rice Lake Oct. 29 in a WIAA Division 3 sectional final, but the Warriors scored the next seven goals and ended Waupaca’s season with a 7-1 loss.
The Comets had advanced to the program’s second sectional final Oct. 27 with a 5-1 win over Mosinee.
Boldt, who led the state this season in goals (50) and total points (126), gave Waupaca a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal 14:59 into the game.
Hunter Holmes tied the game 14 minutes later with a header goal.
A turning point came in the game’s 33-minute mark after the Comets’ Dante St. Thomas received a red card for goal interference and Holmes converted a penalty kick that gave the Warriors the lead for good.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but the red card, that hurt,” coach Mat Lawniczak said. “When you get to this point, both teams are extremely talented. We had to go and play one guy down. That’s a game changer right there.”
Waupaca trailed 2-1 at halftime, but the Warriors pulled away with a goal from Jacob Tomesh and two more from Holmes in the first 4:26 of the second half.
“It was hard to come back from one down with one less guy,” Lawniczak said. “We made some changes, but when you make changes, guys are off a little bit. We have more opportunities 11-on-11, but we had to move (Boldt) back.”
Zach Buchli added an unassisted goal and converted a penalty kick for Rice Lake’s final score.
Goalkeeper Nate Schuler-Jones gave up all seven goals, but also made 14 saves, as the Warriors outshot the Comets 21-6.
“My keeper had a great season,” Lawniczak said. “Him feeling out the ball on the turf was another factor. It was a different atmosphere. The biggest thing was the speed on the turf. They knew how to play this. You can’t say the home field advantage wasn’t definitely a factor today. They’re a great team, one of the better teams we played this year.”
Rice Lake, last year’s Division 3 runner-up, will face defending state champion Mount Horeb in a state semifinal at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, in Milwaukee.