October 4, 2007 at 8:35 a.m.
Wildcat soccer boys edged by top-ranked BSM 2-1, get three consecutive shut-outs, including wins over Irondale and Monticello
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half against the number one ranked team in the state, Benilde-St. Margaret's. But the Red Knights scored two somewhat controversial goals later in the half and hung on for a 2-1 win over the Wildcats September 25 at Chisago Lakes.
In the 20th minute, Aaron Bergerson controlled Brandyn Johnson's long free kick and got past the defense. The Benilde goalie appeared indecisive about going after the ball. He came about halfway out and hesitated before Bergerson pushed it by him to get the goal.
The first goal from Benilde came on a PK on a call in the 31st minute. A Benilde forward was in the upper corner of the box, right by the line. The forward was facing away from the goal and was protecting the ball. A Wildcat player was called for a push. Rather than giving a free kick just outside the box, which is what referees usually do that close to the edge of the box, the referee gave Benilde a penalty kick, which they converted.
The second Benilde goal came with three minutes left in the half, after Berget came out and punched the ball out of the box. A Benilde player fell on top of him and appeared slow letting Berget up. Meanwhile, the ball bounced around inside the box until Benilde was able to put it in the net.
"David Berget made three great saves on headers close inside the box," said Wildcat assistant coach Roy Knafla. "I thought Tyler Pojanowski and Benj Figini both had good games on defense. We were a little sloppy with our passing at times but, overall, the boys played well. It was a fun game, but cold. I wouldn't go so far as to say we should've won the game. Benilde is a good team and had more opportunities. But, without the questionable calls, we might've stolen a game from them."
Chisago Lakes 2, Irondale 0
The Wildcats scored a goal in each half on their way to a 2-0 win over the Irondale Knights Thursday, September 27 at Chisago Lakes.
Aaron Bergerson and Ian Johnson scored for the Wildcats, with Zak Vrudny and Brandyn Johnson picking up the assists. David Berget made six saves in recording his fourth shutout of the season.
CL 0, Mounds Park Academy 0
Against Mounds Park Academy, the Wildcats appeared to break a 0-0 tie with four minutes remaining in the game. An offsides call nullified the goal, however, and the Wildcats had to settle for a 0-0 tie Saturday, September 29 at Chisago Lakes.
The Wildcats had the better of the play throughout the game, though the Mounds Park goalie didn't have to make too many tough saves. And the Wildcats had two other scoring chances taken away from them on controversial plays.
In the first half, Aaron Bergerson was fouled hard in the Mounds Park penalty area. But the referee chose to make no call, so the Wildcats were denied the opportunity to take a penalty kick. Early in the second half, Zak Vrudny took a hard shot from close range. The goalie wrapped himself around the ball and fell backwards into the net. The ball appeared to cross the line as the goalie fell, but the sideline referee saw otherwise and ruled no goal.
The offsides call late in the game was baffling. Manny Cruceru took a shot from a tough angle just a few feet from the goalkeeper near the left side of the net. The goalkeeper was able to get his hands on the shot, but deflected it to the right onto the waiting foot of Aaron Bergerson. Bergerson knocked the ball into the open net for an apparent goal. But the same sideline referee that made the earlier call on Vrudny's shot ruled that Bergerson was offsides on the play, though it was difficult to see how any player could have been offsides. The call stood, and neither team had a great scoring chance through the last four minutes of regulation or in overtime, and the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Chisago Lakes 1, Monticello 0
Goalkeepers David Berget and Lukas Vitalis saved all six shots they faced as they combined for the Wildcats' third shutout in a row, a 1-0 win over Monticello Monday, October 1 at Monticello. Defender Neil Taurinskas scored the games only goal on a second half penalty kick.
Homecoming king candidate Berget, the Wildcats' regular goalkeeper, was unavailable after halftime. Vitalis stepped in and, with help from a tough Wildcat defense, kept Monticello off the board in the second half.
"Monticello has a pretty good team again this year," said Wildcat head coach Mark Leigh, "though they were a senior-laden squad last year, just like we were. I think today's loss was only their second loss of the season. I'm please with three shutouts in a row. We moved Brandyn Johnson back to sweeper to shore up our defense, and we moved Cammy Bouwens from midfield back to forward because he's the type of player who just makes things happen up front.
The Wildcats close out the regular season with three road games. They were scheduled to play at Columbia Heights Tuesday, October 2. They'll play at Spring Lake Park tonight, Thursday, October 4, at 5 p.m. Their final regular season game this year will be against at St. Louis Park Monday, October 8 at 5 p.m. The Section 7A playoffs begin Thursday, October 11, with seedings, locations, times and opponents yet to be determined.
"I'm glad we play some tough conference opponents here at the end of the regular season," said Leigh. "Playing better teams will help us to be more ready for the section playoffs."