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Badger kickers seeking state?

2010 Badger Boys Soccer Schedule (all games at 6:30 p.m. unless noted, home games in CAPS): September — 2: at Kenosha Bradford, 7 p.m. 4: Big Foot Invite, 10 a.m. 7: at Delavan-Darien. 9: RACINE HORLICK. 14: BURLINGTON. 16: at Westosha Central. 18: Whitewater Invite, 12:15 p.m. 21: WATERFORD. 24: BADGER INVITE. 25: BADGER INVITE, noon. 28: Southern Lakes Conference tournament. 30: SLC tournament. October — 7: at Janesville Craig, 7 p.m. 12: WIAA Regionals. 14: Regionals. 21: Sectionals.
September 01, 2010 | 08:34 AM
The Badger boys soccer squad was a mere overtime session from athletic immortality last fall.

The boys forced overtime against Kenosha Tremper, but an unlucky bounce led to a goal and a heart-breaking 2-1 loss.

The defeat didn't undermine the banner year for Badger. It was the third straight season Badger reached the sectional final, and Matric Kotula scored 44 goals, a school record. Badger finished with a 22-2-1 overall record.

Well, the senior is back this year and already is on his way to breaking his own record. Kotula has helped lead Badger to a 3-1-2 early season record, and he has made nine goals in the last three games. Furthermore, Badger is destroying opponents. They beat Burlington 5-1, Union Grove 10-4 and Wilmot 8-1. Coach Ross Fowler said his team keeps improving with each game.

"They're coming together and working hard," he said. "The kids are fired up. State is definitely one of our goals. We have the potential to be better than last year."

And Fowler isn't far-fetched in his prediction, with six returning starters including Kotula.

Other returning starters are seniors Martin Valadez, Chris Georgalas, Ben Larwa, Filiberto Librado and goalie Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz. According to Fowler, other key contributors will be seniors Korvin Klausen and Travis Hanauer along with junior Francisco Perez.

Fowler is hoping several players besides Kotula will share the scoring load with the departures of Kyle Blechner, Wes Aranda and Tyler Cuculi. Georgalas already has made an impact. He scored a goal and dished five assists against Union Grove Aug. 24.

Newcomers who should help the team will include sophomores Kyle Janikowski and Joe Ahlgren.

Fowler is excited about a rule change in the Southern Lakes Conference that will allow Badger to only play each conference team once. Also, there will be a conference tournament for the first time this year.

"It really frees up space for nonconference opponents," he said. "This year, we are playing teams in our sectional like Kenosha Bradford, Janesville Craig and Beloit. I really like it, and it's nice to have a flexible schedule. I am expecting us to win the SLC."

Badger will travel to Bradford Thursday and possibly take on Big Foot in the Big Foot Invite Saturday.

The local boys edged Bradford, 2-1, in the sectional semifinals last year.

"They're returning several good players," Fowler said of Bradford.

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