Rhinelander ties Mosinee, falls in PKs
Rhinelander goalkeeper Barak Rappley is unable to stop a penalty kick chance by Mosinee’s Tucker Kowalski during a GNC boys’ soccer game at Mike Webster Stadium Tuesday, Sept. 12. Kowalski’s kick was the decided as Mosinee took a shootout, 5-4, after the teams played to a 1-1 draw in regulation. (Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
A struggling offense finally caught up with the Rhinelander High School boys’ soccer team Tuesday night in Great Northern Conference play.
The Hodags suffered the first blemish on their conference record as a pair of late goals off free kicks canceled each other out and Rhinelander settled for a 1-1 draw with Mosinee at Mike Webster Stadium. Mosinee won the subsequent penalty kick shootout, 5-4, for an extra conference point.
Rhinelander has scored only five goals in four conference games so far. While the Hodags’ defense has stood strong, the team’s first conceded goal in conference play ended up looming large against a Mosinee side that controlled play in the second half and outshot Rhinelander 25-14 overall.
“It was a close game. They’re a tough team,” Rhinelander coach John Weigel said. “They scored on us kind of late and I’m glad the boys didn’t give up. They kept fighting hard and got that equalizer and took us to the PK and we came up short tonight. That’s sports, I guess.”
Mosinee’s Cole Kowalski collides with Rhinelander goalkeeper Barak Rappley following a free kick during the second half of a GNC boys’ soccer game at Mike Webster Stadium Tuesday, Sept. 12. Mosinee scored on a rebound on the play while Rhinelander argued, to no avail, that Rappley was fouled by Kowalski prior to the shot. (Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
The Mosinee attack had been building, with a number of quality looks as the game lurched over the hour mark. Mosinee finally struck in the 70th minute on a free kick. The ball was headed inside the box and Mosinee’s Cole Kowalski collided with Rhinelander keeper Barak Rappley as Rappley swatted the ball away. Officials deemed no foul occurred, play continued and Trevor Tazelaar was able to cash in on a rebound to put Mosinee ahead.
“I thought our keeper kind of got bumped there, but I guess they didn’t see it that way,” coach Weigel said. “I thought he kind of went into our keeper, put him off-balance. It looked like Barak was in good position to get the ball, but they didn’t see it that way. That’s the way it goes in soccer sometimes, unfortunately.”
Mosinee’s lead was short-lived as the Hodags cashed in on a set piece of their own less than a minute later. Will Quinn sent a free kick into the box which bounded around in a mass of humanity before junior Aidan Ostermann was able to sneak his left foot on it from close range for the equalizer.
“They pulled everybody to try to defend it, so we pulled our defense and pulled them up into the box also,” coach Weigel said. “I think there was like 22 kids, aside from our keeper, down there almost. Having those extra bodies, we were able to get a foot on it.”
Ostermann had another look off a set piece in the 77th minute that sailed high, and Mosinee missed on a header chance in the final minute that sent the game to PKs.
Mason Shinners, Will Gretzinger, Neil Weigel and Matthew King all converted for Rhinelander in the five-man shootout. Quinn was stopped in the second round on a diving save by Mosinee’s Ben Harris that deflected off the left post. Rappley forced extra kicks by stopping Greyson Gabrielski’s look to the right corner in the fifth round.
Michael Schiek misfired high and wide right for the Hodags to open sudden death, and Tucker Kowalski fired past Rappley to the upper left corner to win the shootout for Mosinee.
“I’m confident when we go to the PKs. We’ve got a good keeper in Barak and some great players. It just didn’t roll our way tonight,” coach Weigel said.
Shots were nearly even, 9-8 in favor of Mosinee, in a defensive-minded first half. Mosinee began to find cracks in the Rhinelander defense in the second half and slowly gained control of the match.
Harris made seven saves for Mosinee. He denied Quinn on a low, hard shot from 12 yards out in the 59th minute and stopped Shinners on a give-and-go chance from Quinn in the 78th minute. Aside from Ostermann’s goal in the scrum, those two were the only quality scoring chances for the Hodags in the second half.
“They kind of got us in the midfield, I felt. I tried to correct that a little bit at halftime. It worked somewhat, but we need to work on that a little bit more,” coach Weigel said.
Rappley made nine saves for Rhinelander in what will count, officially, as the Hodags’ third consecutive draw.
The Hodags (4-1-3, 3-0-0-1 Great Northern) were scheduled to travel to Northland Pines Thursday night in a game that concluded after press time for today’s edition. Rhinelander begins the second half of GNC play at Medford next Thursday night.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at [email protected].