For the third year in a row, the Oregon Panthers are Badger South Conference champions.
The Panthers beat Watertown 7-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 15, and clinched when Madison Edgewood and Monona Grove tied 2-2.
Oregon (10-6-1, 6-0 Badger South) is ranked ninth in Division 2 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Poll. The Panthers are 3-5 against teams ranked in the top 10 in the state, and have bigger aspirations than winning a conference title.
“We are looking to seal the deal,” Oregon coach Chris Mitchell said. “When we talk about setting our goals, we talk about setting them so we are one big game away from getting back to state.”
Oregon shut out Milton 4-0 on Monday, Oct. 14, at Huntoon Field. Seventh-ranked Brookfield Central edged the Panthers 2-1 on Saturday, Oct. 12, two days after Oregon was shut out 2-0 by the top-ranked team in Division 3, McFarland.
Oregon 7, Watertown 0
Drake University commit Collin Bjerke netted a hat trick in the Panthers’ road win over the Goslings.
Juniors Ben Statz and Pat Brognano had a goal each. Senior Jaison Fishwild and freshman Mason Diercks also found the back of the net.
Oregon recorded 16 shots on goal, and junior goalkeeper Coltrane LoBreglio stopped Watertown’s one shot on goal.
Oregon 4, Milton 0
Four different players scored as the Panthers rolled past the Red Hawks.
Oregon scored three goals in the first 30 minutes. Ater a centering pass from sophomore Alex Rodriguez, senior Aaron Kluck fired a shot just inside the left post in the 6th minute. Four minutes later, Brognano scored on a shot inside the far post.
Junior Micah Mitchell scored on an assist by Fishwild in the 23rd minute, and senior Zack Dion added a goal on a pass by Fishwild in the 30th minute.
“That’s a huge momentum thing,” Kluck said. “When you can get early goals, it just knocks the wind out of the other team’s sails.”
Mitchell said one of the points of emphasis before the game was getting off to a fast start.
It felt good right from the whistle, Mitchell said. “One of our points of emphasis in pregame was to control the play. The longer we let a team like that hang around, the more interesting it gets.”
The Panthers dominated possession, outshooting the Red Hawks 18-1.
“We got the ball into spaces,” Mitchell said. “It doesn’t matter who is on the end of it, they have a good chance to score.”
Brookfield Central 2, Oregon 1
The Panthers’ second-half rally fell short in a nonconference road loss to the Lancers.
Rodriguez scored in the 76th minute. LoBreglio had six saves.
McFarland 2, Oregon 0
The Panthers outshot the Spartans 7-6, but came up empty in the nonconference road loss.
McFarland senior midfielder Ian Loss scored on a putback outside the box in the 58th minute, and senior forward Ethan Nichols converted a penalty kick in the 66th minute.
LoBreglio had four saves.
Panthers earn No. 2 sectional seed
Oregon received the No. 2 seed in the Division 2 Elkhorn Sectional.
The Panthers will host Reedsburg in a regional semifinal Tuesday, Oct. 22, at Huntoon Field.
“I think for us to get the No. 2 seed is a testament to the season these boys have put together,” Mitchell said. “Regardless, you have to get through good teams to get back to state. I think we have the most competitive sectional in the state this year.”
Five of Oregon’s six losses have come against teams ranked in the top 10 in the state. The other loss came against Totino-Grace of Fridley, Minnesota, the defending Class A state champion.
The winner of Oregon and Reedsburg will face seventh-seeded DeForest or 10th-seeded East Troy/Palmyra Eagle in the regional championship. The Panthers could see Badger South Conference rival and third-seeded Monona Grove in the sectional semifinals.
“There are a lot of good teams in our sectional this year, but I think we are capable of getting back to state,” Kluck said.