SPASH Soccer beats Wisconsin Rapids
October 10, 2012By Todd VanderLoop of Stevens Point Area Senior High
WISCONSIN RAPIDS — For the Stevens Point Area Senior High boys soccer team, the third meeting against Wisconsin Rapids turned out to be the charm.
The Panthers avenged a tie and a loss earlier in the season and rode three second half goals to a 3-2 victory Tuesday night in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game at Washington Field.
The Panthers advance to play third-seeded Wausau East, a 5-2 victor over Marshfield, at 4 p.m. Thursday at Wausau East in a regional final game. Other regional games from the Chippewa Falls sectional are Menomonie at Hudson, Eau Claire Memorial at Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire North — an upset winner over D.C. Everst in a shootout — at River Falls. Sectional semifinals will be held Oct. 18 and the sectional championship is set for 2 p.m., Oct. 20 at Chippewa Falls.
Rapids concluded its season with an 11-7-3 record, while the Panthes improved to 9-8-4.
SPASH split the regular season series with the Lumberjacks, taking the first meeting on August 30 by a 4-0 margin, while the Panthers took the rematch 3-1 on September 25.
“We did what we needed to tonight,” SPASH coach Mark Peel said. “We played tough defense, made good on our chances and answered when we had to.”
After falling short in the previous meetings, the Panthers wanted to take the attack to the Raiders early and put the pressure on Rapids, but they were unable to beat Rapids goalkeeper, Kevin Baneck as the teams took a scoreless tie to the intermission.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Rapids broke the scoring drought when Seth Surendonk took a shot outside of the penalty box and tucked it under the cross bar, just out of the reach of a leaping David Tuchinski for the 1-0 advantage.
Five minutes later, SPASH answered, as James McDonald put back the rebound off his initial penalty kick to knot the score back up at 1-1.
With the goal, the Panthers found new life, and 10 minutes later took the lead for good when they scored a pair of goals just over a minute apart to take a commanding 3-1 advantage.
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