Elkhorn and Racine St. Catherine’s appeared to be on course for a draw Tuesday evening.
Then a sweet set-piece goal broke the tie.
Sophomore Tony Vogt drifted a ball to the right post on a free kick in the 88th minute, and senior Devon Davey leaped above a mass of players to smack the ball into the net and lift the Elks to a 2-1 nonconference win over the visiting Angels.
“We knew he (Vogt) was going to put a good ball in for us,” Davey said of his game-winner. “We just had to attack the ball in the box. I saw it come right over and one guy missed, so I kneed it in.”
Elkhorn’s play worked so well that Luis Roman, running next to Davey, was also left open.
“He (Vogt) is one of the guys we put on the ball because it’s about ball-placement,” Elkhorn coach BZ Kayser said. “It’s not all about power.”
The Elks improved to 1-1 after their second straight game against a state-ranked opponent. Racine St. Catherine’s (0-3) was ranked No. 6 in Division 4 in Monday’s Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Coaches Poll.
Davey, who qualified for June’s Division 1 state track meet in three different events, was Elkhorn’s game-changer Tuesday. The midfielder is in line for a much bigger role this season after scoring seven goals in 2018.
“He’s one of the best box-to-box players I’ve had,” Kayser said of Davey. “He can get box to box and sideline to sideline. He’s just fast; he’s got incredible endurance and he’s a smart player.”
It was Davey’s second varsity multi-goal game. He gave Elkhorn an early lead in the ninth minute, when he beautifully timed a run behind St. Catherine’s defense and scored off a pass from Roman.
That score stood for the remainder of the first half and most of the second, until St. Catherine’s equalized on Victor Moreno’s half-volley in the 74th minute.
Elkhorn regained control of the match in the final 15 minutes and was rewarded with Davey’s winner.
“It’s what we do,” Davey said. “We get after people and we use our speed.”
Elkhorn coach BZ Kayser said it is too early to tell how his 2019 team stacks up to its 2018 counterpart—a relentless and determined unit that, led by an excellent senior class, wore down opponents, won 17 games and finished a penalty shootout shy of advancing to the state tournament.
“Two years ago, when our good senior class that just graduated last year, (when) those guys were juniors, I was like, ‘Oh, God. They’ve got to make a big step,’” Kayser said. “And they made the step.
“We’ve got a big senior group again, and we’re just hoping this group can do the same thing. Time will tell if they can.”
Several players, judging from their efforts Tuesday, are poised to take big steps forward. Senior midfielder Sean Ahler was one of Elkhorn’s best ball-winners, while the center back pairing of seniors Cole Reece and Ben Vogel looked strong.
The Elks host Waunakee for another difficult nonconference test Thursday.
ELKHORN 2, ST. CATHERINE’S 1
St. Cat’s 0 1—1
Elkhorn 1 1—2
E—Devon Davey (Luis Roman), 8:14
RSC—Victor Moreno (Juan Casares), 73:13. E—Davey (Tony Vogt), 87:49.
Saves—Peyton Johnson (RSC) 7, Preson Ward (E) 1. Shots—RSC 5, Elkhorn 16. Shots on goal—RSC 2, Elkhorn 9. Corners—RSC 3, Elkhorn 6. Offsides—RSC 0, Elkhorn 4. Fouls—RSC 10, Elkhorn 15.