Wildcats into the Endgame

One regular season game left for Boy’s Soccer

Nathan Thomas, Executive Striv Producer

One minute left in the biggest game of the season against third ranked Creighton Prep.

Junior Riley Hackbert picked up the ball on the touchline for a throw-in, with his team down by one. He takes a big step forward, launching the ball as far into the nearby penalty area with all the power he could.

It bounced off a couple of heads, and the ball was free.

Senior Jacob Mock saw it and ran over, and struck the ball right off his foot without another touch.

“I saw the bounce and all I thought was to just smash it,” Mock said. “I had no idea it would go in until everyone started celebrating.”

The ball took a quick little skip and rolled into the bottom corner, right underneath the goalkeeper, to tie the game.

The Wildcats would go on to win the game in penalty kicks 4-2 after being 1-1 at the end of OT, pulling off one of their biggest upsets in years.

“Our record was struggling and we needed a big win,” senior Daniel Zapata said. “This game proved to everyone we were the real deal and boosts confidence.”

It has not been all smooth sailing all season. The team sits with a 7-8 record and only one regular season game remaining.

The team has been in many close games so far this season, with all but two games being decided by two goals or less.

“We have always been in the games, it’s just mentally and physically tolling on us,” senior Braedan Evans said. “We have been always in for the games this season but got unlucky sometimes.”

Form has really ramped up over the past few weeks, as the Wildcats have now won three of their last four, including two over top 10 ranked teams in Omaha Central and Creighton Prep. Their only loss was on the road to second ranked Omaha South.

The trio of Evans, junior Nathan Bauermeister and sophomore Caden Tubagh highlight a ferocious attacking line, as they have 16 of the 34 goals by the team so far this year. The trio also has combined for 16 assists.
They are heading into the home stretch of the season now, with Elkhorn South being their final match before Districts. That game will be played on Friday Apr. 26.

Districts begin next week in Kearney, as the team will compete for an automatic berth to the State Tournament.

“Districts are very important because we need to win for State,” Zapata said. “We have some tough games, but we can go toe to toe with any of them with our season on the line.”

They will again face off with the Storm from Elkhorn for the third time in the season at Kearney High School. The winner of that game will play the winner of Kearney and Bellevue East.

With just a few games left, the team knows there is some work to do to reach their ultimate goal of playing at Morrison Stadium in May.