With a 4-0 win over over Watertown-Mayer Thursday night, the Waconia girls soccer team clinched a share of the Wright County Conference Championship, earning their third title in 3 years.
“We came out strong and stayed strong throughout the rest of the game,” Bryn Theis said.
Both teams entered the game with only two losses entering the game, with Watertown-Mayer at 11-2-1 and Waconia at 9-2-4. In a battle of premier teams, the Wildcats took a lead just minutes into the game and were in control until the final whistle blew.
“[It was] probably the best game we’ve played,” Jordan Grell said. “We just wanted it more.”
Waconia’s 1-1 tie with Orono Sept. 17 means that both teams finished the conference season with 8-0-1 records. The tie was one of four Waconia had to start the season, but the ‘Cats have since been on a roll.
“All the ties and losses at the beginning really helped us in the end, because it made us stronger,” Grell said. “We knew what the feeling was like and we didn’t want that anymore.”
Since the Orono loss dropped Waconia to 2-1-4 on the season, the ‘Cats have rebounded in a big way, going 8-1-0 down the second half of the season to finish with double-digit wins. The Wildcats are also on a seven-game win streak that has them outscoring opponents 34-4.
“We started off doubting ourselves and we needed to get more team bonding and start playing with each other more,” Theis said. “The teamwork really helped in the end.”
The Wildcats have scored nearly five goals a game while allowing less than one as they have dominated the opposition over the final two weeks of the season.
“It’s awesome, we’ve been playing really good, our best,” Grell said.
Waconia heads into the Section 2A Tournament as the No. 4 seed, hosting the winner of No. 5 Southwest Christian and No. 13 Faribault/ No. 12 Marshall Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. Should the Wildcats prevail, they will take on either No. 1 Mankato West, No. 8 New Ulm or No. 9 Waseca Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. The championship game will be played Oct. 17 at New Prague High School, with a 7:30 p.m. start.
“We need to stay strong, keep playing as a team and keep playing how we are now,” Grell said.
WHS 4 W-M 0
Just 3 minutes in, a foul 35 yards out gave Chanda Breeggemann a chance to increase her goal total for the year. Her perfect shot on goal gave Waconia an early 1-0 lead and encouraged additional pressure from all players on the team.
Eight minutes later, another great combination play by Waconia would have Bryn Theis overlapping on the left side and her cross found Jordan Grell inside of 6 yards and her perfectly placed shot gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
In the second half, Watertown-Mayer sent three forward to try to gain one of the goals back. A perfect pass wide by Hailey Bogema left Maris Heun in perfect position to shoot, but Waconia’s goalie Isabelle Shuster timed her dive perfectly and sent the ball out for a corner. The Royals would get three more chances on goal, but Shuster held her ground and with help from the Waconia defense kept the shutout going.
Sixteen minutes into the second half, Waconia regained their composure on the ball and with possession came scoring chances. A great cross from Chloe Jaeger almost became the third goal when Kennedie Dustin found herself at the PK spot, but her shot went just wide of the goal. A minute later, Jordan Grell would find Bryn Theis in the goal area, and the freshman forward’s shot made the score 3-0 in favor of the home team.
Twenty minutes from the end of the game, a corner kick from Chanda Breeggemann would find Bryn Theis in the goal area, and the header by the forward made the final score 4-0.
Rain and cold weather did not distract the Waconia High School girls soccer team in their efforts to win their sixth game in a row and improve their overall record to 9-2-4.
In contrast to 24 hours earlier when the weather was a warm 84 degrees, temperature at the start of the match was 46 degrees and heavy rainfall. Waconia took advantage of those conditions and used short passes and dribbling to set a high tempo in the game.
Just 4 minutes from the start, a brilliant dribbling run by Bryn Theis drew the Mankato East defense to her, and her crossing pass to Chloe Jaeger set up the first goal of the game.
Waconia retained possession of the ball and 9 minutes from the initial goal, a dashing pass by Jaeger to Grace Seim created another scoring chance. This time, Seim played a perfect cross for Bryn Theis who calmly put the ball in the back of the net to make the score 2-0 in favor of the home team.
Ten minutes later, Jaeger would draw the Mankato East defense, allowing Kennedie Dustin to sprint first to the ball and shoot with her left foot. The Mankato East goalkeeper dove to save the ball but her rebound came back to Dustin, who finished with a hard left-footed shot to make the score 3-0.
As the first half was coming to a close, Chanda Breeggemann’s perfect corner kick found senior Riley Bredeson in the goal area, and Bredeson’s perfect header made the game 4-0 at half time.
The Wildcats would not ease off on their pressing and just 1 minute and 43 seconds into the second half, a pass by Maddie Charbonneau gave Bryn Theis the ball at the top of the goal area. Using two moves to beat the defense, Theis shot the ball far post and made the score 5-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
Goalkeeper Isabelle Shuster and Emmy Wyffels kept the score at zero for the visiting Cougars with a combined nine saves in the game.
WHS 5 Holy Family 0
The Wildcats were looking to improve on their four-game winning streak and arrived in Victoria confident and focused.
From the initial whistle, the Wildcats looked to impose their tempo on the game using short passes to penetrate the Fire’s defense. Four minutes into the match, Chloe Jaeger made her way through the back line of Holy Family, but her powerful shot was saved by Holy Family’s goalkeeper Sydney Paulsen.
After a shot from Chanda Breeggemann was deflected for a throw in, a perfect throw from Bryn Theis found Chloe Jaeger inside the goal area and her powerful shot made the score 1-0.
The Wildcats were not done pushing the ball up-field and Melissa Honnold’s passing out of the middle created three breakaways for Waconia that the Fire’s defense had to clear. Out of the midfield play came the second Waconia goal. A great pass from Maddie Charbonneau left Chanda Breeggemann in perfect shooting position and the midfielder did not miss her opportunity putting the ball in the back of the net for a 2-0 partial score.
Just four minutes later, it would be Kennedie Dustin who would receive a ball from Breeggemann, and the freshman’s shot bested Paulsen to increase the score to 3-0.
After a brilliant play from Grace Seim down the left side of the field, her pass to Chloe Jaeger and Jaeger’s shot made the game 4-0 at halftime.
The Wildcats continued to push the ball forward through possession and passing in the second half, and their pressure gave results just 2 minutes into the second half when Brynley Theis’ pass found Jordan Grell open at the top of the goal area, and Grell’s shot found the far post to make the score 5-0.
Waconia would continue to look for scoring opportunities, and as a result, Holy Family was able to counter attack in the second half. Three clear opportunities were created by Maeve Kelly, but Waconia’s goalkeeper Isabelle Shuster was able to make great saves on two of them, and clear with her feet the third chance.