Milton downs Craig 5-4 in wild boys soccer opener
JANESVILLE--The offenses for Milton and Janesville Craig appeared in midseason form during their boys soccer openers Tuesday night.
The defenses have a bit of catching up to do.
The Red Hawks scored all five of their goals in an eight-goal second half, and they held on to top the host Cougars 5-4 in nonconference play.
“I figured we wouldn't have a problem scoring goals; it was a matter of if we could keep goals out,” Milton coach Ryan Wagner said. “Tonight we couldn't do that, and they (Craig) didn't do that.
“It's the first game, so it doesn't really surprise me. Both teams have a lot to work on.”
Oddly enough, it was simply 1-0 at halftime, with Craig senior Hozai Ceballos scoring the only goal on a fantastic 25-yard free kick.
But it didn't take long for the floodgates to open in the second half. The Cougars took a 2-0 lead on the first of three goals from Zach Currie in the 50th minute. It was the first of five goals in less than 12 minutes of elapsed time.
Milton got on the board with Sean Grote's penalty kick at 50:52 and tied the game less than three minutes later on Gunnar Call's strike from the top corner of the penalty box.
“We maybe came in with our heads a little too big,” Wagner said. “Once we got the tying goal, it was kind of 'Game on,' a little bit more.”
Craig regained the lead in the 60th minute, but Milton answered 59 seconds later.
The Red Hawks got their first lead on Grote's second PK at 70:21, and Jake Anderson's chip shot at 74:04 made it 5-3.
Currie scored his third goal on a beautiful pass in from Ross March with just over 11 minutes remaining. The Cougars had a couple of late chances but couldn't level the score.
“We're definitely dynamic and attack-minded, we're just working on piecing that back line together,” Craig coach Garrett McCabe said. “Milton's athletic up front and likes to attack just like we do, so it made it an exciting game.
“We're going to shore up that back line, and I've got the guys that are capable of doing it.”
McCabe thinks his Cougars team will be able to compete night in and night out, even when the tough Big Eight Conference slate rolls around.
Currie, a sophomore, should give Craig a talented scorer up front, with senior Jake Tollefsrud giving the attack a veteran presence.
Hozai Ceballos, who ranks among the most athletic high school athletes in Janesville, anchors the midfield along with fellow senior Yoshi Fukushima.
The back line is a work in progress but gets veteran leadership from Jack Swingle and junior Eduardo Pacheco, who can also move forward to the midfield.
Senior David Diaz, who had seven saves against Milton, returns in net.
“It's just figuring things out and shoring things up from back to front and making sure we're finishing games off,” McCabe said. “Those are things we fix on the training ground. I have a very positive outlook on the season, and I know they do, too.”
Craig hosts Monona Grove in another nonconference game Thursday night.