New London to play for regional title
By Erik Buchinger
New London’s Jason Sanderfoot recorded a hat trick in a 5-4 victory at home over Lakeland Union in a WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal game on Thursday, Oct. 19.
Bulldog senior Hunter Gorges scored twice, including the game-winning goal in the first overtime.
“I feel like that was the best game we’ve had all year,” Gorges said. “We played our hardest and definitely gave it our all – 100 percent the whole game. Very good win. Very happy with my team.”
After the sixth-seeded Lakeland took a 1-0 lead, the No. 3 seed Bulldogs had two goals from Jason Sanderfoot and one for Hunter Gorges to give New London a 3-1 halftime advantage.
In the second half, Lakeland cut the lead to one before Sanderfoot scored his third goal of the game to make it 4-2 with 25 minutes to play.
“[Coach Joe Messina] really wanted me to focus on being a multidimensional player instead of just using my speed up the ball on a through ball every time,” Sanderfoot said. “I think I did a good job taking outside shots.”
Lakeland responded with a pair of goals to tie the game at 4 with eight minutes to play and forced overtime.
In the first overtime period, Gorges scored to give the Bulldogs a one-point lead.
“It was just kind of an in the moment kind of thing,” Gorges said. “I knew I had space and time to shoot and could let it go. I guess the keeper wasn’t ready for it, so I’m glad it went in.”
Lakeland Union had several scoring opportunities in the second 10-minute overtime session, but New London’s defense did not allow a goal to seal the victory.
“The game ending was super long, especially with the last five minutes of the game,” Gorges said. “Oh my goodness, I thought it would never end. I’m happy it’s over, and I’m happy we won the game.”
With several close chances late, Sanderfoot agreed the end of the game seemed longer than usual.
“That felt like an hour, no doubt,” Sanderfoot said. “It feels like it’s 11:00 right now.”
The Bulldogs will play No. 2 seed Amherst/Iola-Scandinavia/Rosholt at the Portage County Soccer Complex in Stevens Point on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. for a regional final.
“I’m happy with my team, I can’t stress that enough,” Gorges said. “I’m so happy with them. I’m glad I’m a part of the New London Bulldogs.”