Elkhorn, Delavan-Darien lead the way for area soccer teams
The rivalry between the Delavan-Darien and Elkhorn boys soccer teams is one of the best in the state.
Separated by six miles via Highway 11, the two programs know each other well.
Delavan-Darien won the Southern Lakes Conference title a year ago with an 8-0-1 record. Elkhorn was second with a 7-2 mark. Both losses were 1-0 setbacks to the Comets.
Delavan-Darien went on to win the WIAA Division 3 state title, while Elkhorn lost in the Division 2 state championship game.
Both teams are locked and loaded for another successful season in 2017.
“It will probably come down to us two again this year in the Lakes,” Elkhorn coach BZ Kayser said. “Delavan-Darien has four really outstanding players coming back. And we lost only three starters and have a good nucleus coming back.
“It has turned into a great rivalry between our teams. The boys really look forward to those games because they all know each other so well.”
Elkhorn will be led by senior midfielders and twin brothers Kevin and Bryant Romero, along with Caden Reece at the back. Senior Ben Burrows and junior Adam Reigle also return, as do juniors Luke and Vince Umnus.
“We've got very good depth and experience up and down our lineup,” Kayser said. “We've set the bar high and hope to build off of our success from last season.
The defending state champion Comets return four of their top six scorers from last season. Jason Cano, Pablo Guzman Martinez, Zeus Huerta and Jaime Rodriguez combined to score 57 goals last season.
Craig looks to turn up intensity
Janesville Craig coach Garrett McCabe believes the Cougars can regroup following last year's 2-14-6 season.
“We want to be able to create a buzz and put a good product on the field for our fans who come out to support us,” McCabe said. “And because I think we're going to have the ability to score a lot more goals this season, we'll be able to bring some flash to the field.”
Craig will be led by senior midfielder Mac Ryan, senior defender Ross March and senior forward Zach Currie.
Parker numbers improve
Early indications were that Janesville Parker had nearly 40 players out within its program, an increase from last year.
The Vikings went winless in the Big Eight Conference last season.
Second-year coach Laken Jacobson did not respond to The Gazette's efforts to obtain more information about the team.
Odds and ends
Milton reached the WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinals last season and is two years removed from a trip to the state tournament. But the Red Hawks must replace Scott Biancofiori, a prolific scorer and unanimous first-team all-Badger South selection in 2016.
In the Rock Valley Conference, McFarland went undefeated in the regular season a year ago, and sophomore Caleb Blair was the league's player of the year.