For the second time in as many years, the Verona boys soccer team are Big Eight Conference champions.
The Wildcats clinched the outright Big Eight title with a 6-0 win over Beloit Memorial on Thursday, Oct. 10, at Reddan Soccer Park.
“State is the goal this year,” said Verona assistant coach Ernest Tetteh, who filled in for head coach Chris Handrick. “Winning conference is a statement to everyone in the league and the state that this team is hungry to get there.”
The Wildcats (13-1-2, 8-0 Big Eight) honored 12 seniors with a dominant performance against the Purple Knights. Verona outshot Beloit Memorial 39-2 (21-2 on goal) and senior Nate Hanson earned the shutout in net.
“We all have a great connection with each other,” Verona striker Jonathan Gamez said. “We move the ball well and set ourselves up for a lot of goals.”
Beloit Memorial (10-10-0, 3-5 Big Eight) spent most of the game under heavy pressure by the Wildcats’ offensive attack.
Sam Abreu scored in the seventh minute, and found Sam Lynch for a goal in the 44th minute.
Jack Knight had a goal in the 57th minute, and Bennett Luttinen scored three minutes later. Tavion McNuckle and Eliot Popkewitz collected an assist each.
Popkewitz blasted a shot off the left post in the 83rd minute, but Gamez corralled the rebound and easily scored. Jack Prout converted a penalty kick with 11 seconds left after Gamez was taken down in the box.
Verona, ranked third in Division 1 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Poll, closed the conference slate Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Madison East. The Wildcats close the regular season Friday at home against Monona Grove.
Verona earned the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 Sun Prairie Sectional, and will host Janesville Parker at Reddan Soccer Park in the regional semifinals. The winner will play Sun Prairie or Madison Memorial for the regional title and right to play in the Sun Prairie Sectional.