Back-to-back goals spark Craig soccer past Milton
JANESVILLE--The mission for the Janesville Craig boys soccer program is simple.
After running through the gauntlet that is the Big Eight Conference season, the Cougars are hoping to build some momentum to end their regular season.
They got that ball rolling in the right direction Thursday night, scoring two second-half goals less than one minute apart and hanging on to beat Milton 3-2 in a nonconference home match.
“It’s just a big confidence-booster for the next few games before the season ends,” Craig senior defender Troy Lipker said. “The goal is to win the next two, go into the postseason and try and catch someone off guard.”
Hozai Ceballos put Craig on the scoreboard 16 minutes into the match with a shifty move following a pass from Peyton Wunn.
Milton answered in the early stages of the second half when Eric Berthiaume found the back of the net off a Brady Farnsworth throw-in.
But in the 61st minute, Craig took advantage of a pair of set pieces. The first came off a free kick by Ceballos just outside the scoring box, as the Cougars’ leading scorer added to his total.
“He’s only a sophomore, and I think he’s going to keep getting better if he keeps his attitude right and keeps developing those skills,” Craig coach Mike Hook said. “Strikers want to score goals and be on the end of plays, but they have to do the work off the ball.
“He’s done that lately and is carrying us in the goal tally.”
Shortly after play resumed, the Cougars were awarded a free kick near midfield, and Lipker stepped up hoping to put a ball into the box.
He sent it toward the far, right post and junior Ian O’Donnell got his head on it to make it 3-1.
“It was just to kind of get it out of our area and give a ball that someone can get onto,” Lipker said. “We had a game early in the season where it worked, but it hasn’t happened much.”
Milton drew back within one goal when Brett Gerharz finished off a cross into the box.
And the Red Hawks nearly found an equalizer with just over one minute left off a long ball, but their header just cleared over the top of the crossbar.
“We finally had an opponent that we could really challenge and play up to,” Hook said. “It’s a good feeling for these seniors to come back and win against a team like this. We want to string some wins together.”
Craig hosts Green Bay West in a nonconference tilt on Saturday, then closes out the regular season by hosting Janesville Parker in a crosstown Big Eight clash on Tuesday.
JANESVILLE CRAIG 3, MILTON 2
Milton 0 2—2
Craig 1 2—3
JC—Hozai Ceballos (Peyton Wunn), 16.
Mil—Eric Berthiaume, 52.
JC—Ceballos (FK), 61.
JC—Ian O’Donnell (Troy Lipker), 61.
Mil—Alex Jensen, 73.
Statistics: Saves—Nick Drew (Mil), 6; Austyn Meier (JC), 4. Shots—Milton 14, Craig 17. Fouls—Milton 11, Craig 11. Corner kicks—Milton 3, Craig 3.
WIAA TOURNAMENT DRAW
Edgerton at Evansville, 10 a.m.
Janesville Parker at Madison Memorial (at Breese Stevens), 7 p.m.
Janesville Craig at Middleton, 7 p.m.
Lake Geneva Badger at Madison West (at Hudson Middle School), 7 p.m.
Beloit Memorial at Verona, 7 p.m.
Burlington at Elkhorn, 7 p.m.
Waterford at Milton, 4 p.m.
Evansville-Edgerton winner at Belleville/New Glarus, 4 p.m.
Big Foot/Williams Bay at Cambridge/Deerfield, 4 p.m.
Jefferson vs. McFarland (at Waunakee), 7 p.m.
Monroe at Delavan-Darien, 7 p.m.