Elkhorn’s Danny Stilling (1) attempts to control a corner kick during the first half of the Southern Lakes boys soccer game against Delavan-Darien on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, at Delavan-Darien High.

The home stretch of the high school boys soccer regular season begins today.

Which area sides still have something to play for as conference tournaments heat up and the playoffs near?

Elks, Comets to meet again for Lakes title

The marquee matchup of the week will take place Tuesday in Elkhorn, where the Elks will host Delavan-Darien in the Southern Lakes Conference championship game.

It will be the seventh straight season the two rivals will play for the league title. Elkhorn has won four of those six championship meetings, including a 2-0 win in a downpour last season.

The Elks, ranked No. 6 in Division 2, haven’t lost since their season opener—a 1-0 defeat to No. 3-ranked Whitefish Bay. Elkhorn (13-1-2, 8-0-0 SLC) has given up 10 goals all season and fields the area’s most complete lineup.

Delavan-Darien (14-4-3, 7-1-0 SLC), ranked fifth in Division 3, struggled in a 2-0 defeat to the Elks on Sept. 6. The Comets could find themselves at home Tuesday on Elkhorn’s artificial turf field, an ideal playing surface for a team that likes to keep the ball on the ground and shred opponents with pinpoint passing.

When Elkhorn and Delavan-Darien met in September, the Elks dominated the midfield and harassed the Comets whenever they took possession.

If Delavan-Darien succumbs to Elkhorn’s pressure Tuesday, the Elks will complete their march toward a flawless conference season.

McFarland unblemished

in Rock Valley

McFarland is two wins away from a perfect season in the Rock Valley Conference. The Spartans (12-3-0, 6-0-0 RVC) outscored league opponents 34-0 this year. They host Evansville, a side they defeated 3-0 on Sept. 13, in a conference semifinal today.

The Blue Devils (7-6-1, 2-2-2 RVC) have played well lately and carry a six-game unbeaten streak into the conference tournament.

East Troy/Palmyra-Eagle and Jefferson meet Monday in the other semifinal.

Big Eight race

far from over

Janesville Craig isn’t a threat for a top-half finish in the Big Eight, but the Cougars close the regular season with winnable matches against Madison Memorial (Tuesday) and Madison East (Thursday).

Every win the Cougars (7-9-0, 2-5-0 Big Eight) can muster could be big come playoff time.

Janesville Parker (1-13-0, 0-7-0 Big Eight) has two more chances—Monday against Madison East or Tuesday against Beloit Memorial—to end its 51-game conference losing streak.

Verona (6-0-1 Big Eight) is four points clear of Sun Prairie (5-2-0 Big Eight) with two rounds left to play. The two front-runners will meet Thursday.

The Wildcats could clinch their first-ever Big Eight title as soon as Tuesday if third-place Madison West can defeat Sun Prairie. Verona’s match Tuesday—home against fourth-place Madison West—isn’t a gimme, though.

Assuming Verona and Sun Prairie both win Tuesday, the Wildcats would merely need a draw Thursday to finish in first, while the Cardinals would have to push for a win.

Milton can move up

Milton finds itself in a three-way tie with Stoughton and Madison Edgewood for third place in the Badger South Conference ahead of Tuesday’s final matchday.

The Red Hawks face Edgewood, so they will at least have a chance to knock one team down in the standings. A third-place finish would be a nice jump for Milton (7-5-3, 3-2-1 South) after it finished tied for fifth in 2017.

Oregon cleared its last real hurdle to the Badger South title when it routed Milton 8-0 last Tuesday. Barring a surprising loss against last-place Fort Atkinson on Tuesday, the Panthers will celebrate their fourth conference title in five years.

Bryan Wegter is a sports writer for The Gazette. Email him at bwegter@gazettextra.com