Elkhorn High seems to have built a boys soccer team capable of slowing down the record-setting Delavan-Darien Comets.
It starts with physicality.
“It’s the weight room,” Elkhorn coach BZ Kayser said after his side’s 2-0 victory Thursday over the Comets. “We played to our strengths and we just overpowered them at times.”
The Elks (4-1-1, 1-0-0 Southern Lakes) muscled past the Comets (5-1-1, 0-1-0) to stake their claim as the favorites in the SLC. It’s a good bet that the two area heavyweights, who have combined to win the last seven league crowns, will meet again in the conference tournament.
“We’re in the driver’s seat now, but there’s still tons of games to play still,” Kayser said.
Elkhorn defeated Delavan-Darien 2-0 in a monsoon last October to claim the Southern Lakes title, a match that played out similarly to Thursday’s.
The Elks owned the middle of the field and held the hosts to five shots—three on net—in 90 minutes. Delavan-Darien had outscored opponents 38-4 before the defeat.
“High-intensity pressure was definitely a key factor,” said Elkhorn captain Adam Reigle.
Vince Umnus slid a shot past Haziel Cano in the 16th minute and set up the Elks’ second goal, too.
His volley attempt inside the penalty area was deflected and fell to teammate Luis Roman, who connected from about 8 yards in the 27th minute.
Umnus and Roman each have three goals this season.
“When you work hard and hustle, you create your opportunities,” Kayser said. “Tonight, we were for fortunate to have some balls drop in front of the net for us.”
Delavan-Darien didn’t threaten Elkhorn’s advantage until the second half.
Alex Hergott made a fingertip save in the 69th minute after Martin Soto swung a free kick into the box for the Comets’ best scoring chance.
“They were right on us,” Delavan-Darien coach Mike Marse said. “We just couldn’t find the open pass with all the pressure we were getting.”
The Comets, who scored 159 goals last season to break their own state record, haven’t defeated the Elks since 2016 (two losses, one draw).
Elkhorn hosts Waukesha West on Saturday before resuming conference play Tuesday at Burlington. Delavan-Darien travels to Sheboygan for a nonconference tournament Saturday.
ELKHORN 2, DELAVAN-DARIEN 0
Elkhorn 2 0—2
Delavan-Darien 0 0—0
E—Vince Umnus, 14:58. E—Luis Ramon (Umnus), 26:32.
Saves—Haziel Cano (DD) 3, Alex Hergott (E) 3. Shots—DD 5, Elkhorn 13. Shots on goal—DD 3, Elkhorn 5. Corners—DD 3, Elkhorn 4. Offsides—DD 1, Elkhorn 1. Fouls—DD 17, Elkhorn 17.