It's zero hour for Milton
It became one Thursday night.
Ryan Yunker converted off a missed shot late in the second half to lift Lake Geneva Badger to a stunning 1-0 win over Milton High in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game.
Badger (18-6-1) will play Kenosha Tremper on Saturday with a state tournament berth on the line.
The Red Hawks, who won the Southern Lakes Conference championship, ended the season 15-4-1 and were left wondering what happened offensively.
“We definitely weren’t expecting this,” Milton coach Ryan Wagner said of his top-seeded team’s loss to second-seeded Badger. “We’ve never had a problem scoring all season, and to be honest, I didn’t expect us to tonight.
“But hats off to Badger. They proved to be very worthy of a No. 2 seed. We had three or four real good scoring chances but couldn’t convert. That hasn’t happened all season.”
With the game scoreless and less than four minutes left, Badger controlled the ball deep in the Milton defensive zone. Badger striker Frank Delgado lofted a shot at goalkeeper Nick Hallett, who stopped the shot but was not able to control the ball for a free kick out of the zone. Yunker was planted to the left of the goal and fired the rebound shot past a diving Hallett with 3:48 remaining.
Yunker proved to be in the right place at the right time in knocking in the game-winner.
“All I saw was the rebound coming at me and a little bit of space to get the shot off,” Yunker said. “The opportunity was there, so I took a rip and let it go. I knew it was in right away.”
Milton dominated play the first half but had no goals to show for it. Junior defenseman However, Cole Aschenbrenner nearly scored for the Red Hawks at 12:53 of the first half.
Aschenbrenner stole the ball from a Badger defenseman and got off a shot in front that hit the crossbar and bounced over.
Five minutes later, the Red Hawks failed to convert another scoring opportunity. Forward Dylan Sessler lofted a shot that appeared to be on line, but the ball sailed over the top of the goal.
“It just wasn’t our night,” Wagner said. “Some shots that have been going in during the season didn’t find the net tonight.
“This is a tough one because no one expected it to end like this.”
Milton superstar Adam Lysak had a couple of scoring chances, but Badger’s defense made sure it marked him with two or three players all times.
Badger goalie Jordan Christner stopped Lysak at 20:53 of the first half, and the Milton junior shot a ball wide right off an indirect kick in the second half.
Lysak, who scored 30 goals this season, spent the last four minutes on the sideline after injuring his leg. Badger scored when Lysak was sidelined, but Wagner was not making any excuses.
“That’s not what caused us to give up a goal,” Wagner said of Lysak’s absence. “The ball just took a bounce their way, and they took advantage of it. That’s all it takes in a 1-0 game.”
BADGER 1, MILTON 0
Milton 0 0—0
Lake Geneva Badger 0 1—1
LGB—Ryan Yunker (unassisted), 76:12.
Saves—Nick Hallett (M) 9, Jordan Christner (B) 8.