01STOCK_SOCCER

The Delavan-Darien Comets were not sure they had done enough.

With the wind at their back in the first half of a WIAA Division 2 sectional final match Saturday, they had scored just one goal and narrowly missed on several other opportunities.

As it turned out, one goal was enough, and Delavan-Darien is headed back to the WIAA boys soccer state tournament.

The Comets scored off a free kick minutes before half and held on to beat Grafton, 1-0, at Kewaskum to win the sectional title.

Delavan-Darien will be the No. 1 seed in the one-day, four-team state D2 tournament Saturday at Marshfield.

“They were excited,” Comets head coach Mike Marse said of his players. “We did summer contact the last week in July when we can and did nothing but conditioning because of the COVID rules. ... To have 25-30 guys show up every night just to condition for a season that might not even happen, then see everything postponed when condition is done.

“But they all still showed up (when the season got started), and now this is the result.”

The top-seeded Comets will play fourth-seeded Sauk Prairie at 2 p.m. Saturday, after second-seeded Roncalli/Two Rivers and third-seeded Medford square off at 11 a.m. The winners play in the state final at 7 p.m.

It’s the Comets’ 10th qualification to the boys state soccer tournament and their first since 2017.

And it was made possible thanks to a goal off a free kick with less than five minutes left in the half. Jonathan Diaz scored off an assist from Estevan Colin.

“It was just a little tap and shoot,” Marse said. “They kind of jumped over it, and we put it in the goal.

“We had the wind in the first half and probably had five opportunities that should have resulted in something but didn’t. So in the second half, at times, we were chasing them with the wind.

“They were controlling a little bit in the second half.”

Hector Flores made five saves for the Comets, who improved to 11-2 this season—with both losses coming to undefeated Elkhorn, which will play in the Division 1 state tournament.

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