Elkhorn Area High’s boys soccer team proved again Tuesday that it remains the class of the Southern Lakes Conference.
After dismantling Delavan-Darien for the second time this season, the Elks can now turn their attention to bigger prizes.
Elkhorn battered its rival 5-0 to emphatically close a flawless league season and win its fifth conference tournament title in seven seasons—all coming at the Comets’ expense.
“I don’t think they had any good looks other than the last 10-15 minutes,” Elkhorn coach BZ Kayser said after his side won a match filled with tension, fouls and hard challenges.
The Elks continue to be a matchup nightmare for the Comets. Elkhorn shut out Delavan-Darien for the second time this season, giving up just two shots on goal.
“If a team is physical, fast and doesn’t let us play with the ball, it’s going to be a tight game,” Delavan-Darien coach Mike Marse said. “Against Elkhorn, where everything is going forward all the time, and we’re still going side to side, we’re not going to win that game.”
Luke Umnus had a goal and an assist in the first half, and four other players scored for the rampant Elks (14-1-2, 9-0-0 SLC), who haven’t lost since their season opener.
For Delavan-Darien (14-5-3, 7-2-0 SLC), Tuesday’s final was about survival.
Beset by injuries all season, the Comets were weakened further when starting defender Edward Aranda limped off with a leg injury in the first half. Several others came off at various times with minor injuries.
Ulises Gamino was sent off with a red card in the 59th minute, and Delavan-Darien limped to the finish by conceding three goals in the final 12 minutes. The Comets were outshot 22-7 in their worst defeat in seven seasons under Marse, who questioned the need for a tournament following a seven-game conference season.
“They beat us once already—they should be conference champs,” he said. “I just don’t see the value.”
The two teams combined for 34 fouls and seven cards—six yellow—in 90 minutes. Each team had a player shown yellow after one tense exchange in the 20th minute.
“I was concerned for both teams,” Kayser said. “I thought the officiating let things get out of control for both teams. Me and Mike both agreed on that.”
Umnus set the tone for Elkhorn by scoring and setting up another goal early in the first half. The senior beat a defender and flicked a shot inside the left post in the fifth minute.
About 15 minutes later, his driven shot was tipped away by Delavan-Darien keeper Haziel Cano, only to fall to Alec Birbaum for a tap-in goal.
Luis Roman, Ariel Mora and Cole Reece closed the host’s scoring.
Elkhorn’s depth and versatility was on display throughout Tuesday’s romp. Starting center back Caden Reece hardly played in the second half after picking up a first-half yellow card, while Vince Umnus, who had a hand in two goals when the Elks faced the Comets on Sept. 6, played out of position as a defender.
“We’re to the point where we have guys that can play multiple positions,” Kayser said. “We’re starting to score some goals and we’re finding some homes for people.”
The Elks close the regular season Thursday at Muskego and should receive the top seed in their own Division 2 sectional.
Delavan-Darien will face Beloit Memorial on Thursday in its final game before the Division 3 postseason.
ELKHORN 5, DELAVAN-DARIEN 0
Delavan-Darien 0 0—0
Elkhorn 2 3—5
E—Luke Umnus, 4:11. E—Alec Birbaum (Umnus), 41:05.
E—Luis Roman (Connor Peterson), 77:45. E—Ariel Mora, 82:41. E—Cole Reece, 88:24.
Saves—Haziel Cano (DD) 10, Alex Hergott (E) 2. Shots—DD 7, E 22. Shots on goal—DD 2, E 15. Corners—DD 2, E 2. Offsides—DD 0, E 0. Fouls—DD 12, E 22.