Verona clinched the Big Eight Conference title with a 7-0 home win over Madison La Follette and Sun Prairie’s 2-1 win over Madison East on Monday, Oct. 7.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 3 in Division 1 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Poll, were coming off a 4-2 road win over Madison Memorial on Thursday, Oct. 3.
DePere defeated Verona 1-0 on Saturday, Sept. 28, in the DePere Invitational, handing the Wildcats their only loss of the season.
The Wildcats beat Green Bay Preble 3-0 the previous day in the invite, and shut out Sun Prairie 2-0 on the road Thursday, Sept. 26.
Verona came away with a 3-2 home win over Middleton on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Reddan Soccer Park. The Wildcats went on the road and routed Kettle Moraine 6-0 on Saturday, Sept. 21, two days after a 4-1 home win over Madison West 4-1.
Verona routed Janesville Craig 10-0 at home on Tuesday, Sept. 17, three days after settling for a scoreless tie at home against McFarland.
Verona 7, Madison La Follette 0
The Wildcats gradually figured out the Lancers, as Bennett Luttinen began the scoring with a left-footed strike just inside the left post in the 22nd minute.
La Follette had an own goal at the 24-minute mark. Sam Lynch dove and headed in a corner kick by Sam Abreu in the 30th minute.
Max Lynch scored off a pass by Diego Luna in the 34th minute, and Luna sent a right-footed blast into the back of the net 12 seconds before halftime.
“We were doing really well with our offensive attack,” Luna said, “taking each other’s spots and filling different roles. I just found the gap on the assist, and the volley happened because everybody was in the right place at the right time.”
Lynch dove and headed in another corner kick by Abreu in the 55th minute. Jorge Lagunes’ left-footed strike deflected off the right post and into the back of the net in the 58th minute to cap the scoring.
Verona goalkeepers Nate Hanson (two saves) and Owen Gibson (one save) combined on the shutout.
Verona 4, Madison Memorial 2
The Wildcats jumped out to a quick lead and held off the Spartans in the second half.
Eliot Popkewitz scored in the third minute for Verona, and Jack Knight made it 2-0 in the ninth minute. Jonathan Gamez assisted both goals.
Sam Lynch scored in the 42nd minute on an assist from Luttinen in the 42nd minute to make it 3-1 Wildcats at halftime. Memorial cut it to 3-2 in the 56th minute, but Luttinen scored five minutes later on an assist by Knight.
De Pere 1, Verona 0
The Wildcats outshot the Redbirds 18-2 (9-2 on goal) and had 12 corner kicks, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
De Pere’s Sam Dorchester converted a penalty kick in the 23rd minute. Verona goalkeepers Owen Gibson and Nate Hanson made one save apiece.
Verona 3, Green Bay Preble 0
The Wildcats outshot Preble 28-2, and Gibson stopped the Hornets’ one shot on goal.
Knight scored unassisted in the 33rd minute. Popkewitz found the back of the net in the 58th minute, assisted by Tavion McNuckle. Lagunes added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute.
Verona 2, Sun Prairie 0
The Cardinals sat back on defense for most of the game, but the Wildcats broke through late in the second half.
Gannon Simonett corralled a pass from Knight and sent a right-footed blast into the lower left corner of the net in the 79th minute.
“We’ve been working in practice on getting the ball to the corner and getting that slot ball,” Simonett said. “Jack was able to penetrate, found me in the slot, and I was able to finish well.”
Two minutes later, Simonett snuck a pass between three Sun Prairie defenders to Knight, who beat goalkeeper Tanner Scherer in a one-on-one situation for the insurance goal.
“We had all the momentum to break through,” Verona coach Chris Handrick said. “We just needed to have the mental toughness to outlast them.”
Verona 3, Middleton 2
Simonett scored in the 86th minute to lift the Wildcats past the Cardinals.
Popkewitz scored in the fifth minute before the game was postponed on Sept. 12 with the game tied 1-1 in the 28th minute due to inclement weather.
Abreu put the Wildcats ahead 2-1 with a goal in the 39th minute.
Popkewitz and Bennett Luttinen each had an assist. Nate Hanson and Owen Gibson combined for three saves.
Verona 6, Kettle Moraine 0
Popkewitz scored two goals off assists from Luttinen in the Wildcats’ nonconference road win over the Lasers.
Kettle Moraine hurt itself scoring a goal for the Wildcats in the 16th minute. Popkewitz scored in the 40th minute to put the Wildcats up 2-0 at halftime.
Verona scored three goals in six minutes to distance itself. Gamez scored in the 54th minute off an assist by Abreu, Popkewitz scored in the 57th minute, and Gamez scored in the 60th minute off a pass from Popkewitz.
Jack Heilman added an insurance goal in the 78th minute, assisted by Max Lynch.
Verona 4, Madison West 1
A quick start and resilient effort in the second half gave the Wildcats a Big Eight home win over the Regents.
“This was a great opportunity to play against a team with depth across all their positions,” West coach Pat Bauch said. “There are games where you can identify areas to attack, but Verona is a tough team to do that with this year. They don’t really have any holes in their lineup.”
Gamez scored in the eighth minute, assisted by Luttinen.
“We came out knowing West wasn’t as mentally prepared as us,” Luttinen said. “We know that if we play our game, we can outplay almost any team. It’s just a matter of finding the other team’s weaknesses.”
Luttinen tucked a right-footed shot into the lower left corner of the goal in the 16th minute, assisted by Popkewitz.
Tonio Ermakoff converted a penalty kick in the 44th minute to cut the Regents’ deficit to 2-1 at halftime. West had several opportunities to tie the game early in the second half, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
“They stunned us with those two goals in the first 16 minutes,” Bauch said. “The margin for error against a team like them is a lot thinner than other teams we’ve played. We liked our chances of getting a second goal, but we made a few too many mistakes in the back line that we need to clean up.”
Simonett headed in a corner kick by Gamez in the 60th minute. Gamez added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute.
Oscar Herrera made eight saves for the Regents, and Gibson stopped three shots for the Wildcats.
Verona 10, Janesville Craig 0
Knight netted a hat trick, scoring in the 7th, 12th and 72nd minute. He also had an assist.
Stanley Maradiaga opened the second half with a goal in the 49th minute, and his goal late in the 77th minute put the mercy rule into effect. Gamez scored in the 61st and 82nd minute.
Popkewitz scored in the 19th minute and had an assist. Abreu scored in the 35th minute to put Verona up 4-0 at halftime.
Sam Lynch scored early in the 87th minute, while Heilman, Max Lynch and Alex Sarabia each had an assist.
Gibson and Hanson each made a save.
Verona 0, McFarland 0
The Wildcats outshot the Spartans 16-2 and held a 13-3 advantage in corner kicks, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Hanson stopped the Spartans’ one shot on goal.