WILLIAMS BAY — Big Foot/Williams Bay’s girls soccer co-op kicked the season off right April 4 with a 5-2 win over St. Thomas More in the first game of the year.
At the start of the game, the BFWB win did not seem like a certainty.
For the first 19 minutes, neither team was able to muster up any offense. However, in the 20th minute, St. Thomas More capitalized on a ChiefDogs miscue to go up 1-0.
Just two minutes later, the Cavaliers scored on a long free kick to go ahead 2-0, giving Big Foot/Williams Bay a hole to climb out of.
The biggest detriment to the BFWB team was a combination of frigid temperatures and shaking off the rust in the first game of the year.
“It seemed like we were just five steps behind everything today because of the cold,” head coach Rene Perez said. “First 20 minutes, I think we were just reacting to them playing. They controlled a little bit more, they were physical in the middle, and it took us about 20 minutes to figure it out.”
BFWB was finally able to snap out of its funk in the 34th minute when junior Abby Vandebogert scored the team’s first goal of the season to cut the deficit to 2-1.
That score held until halftime, but it wasn’t long after the break until the ChiefDogs evened the score. Only 38 seconds into play, junior Hannah Palmer netted the equalizer off a pass from senior Abby Peterson.
At halftime, Perez told his squad they needed to score early to get themselves back in the game, and the girls obliged.
“I said we had to score early and get them out of the game,” Perez said. “I think we kicked the confidence off mentally, and you could just tell with body language.”
After the goal, it was clear that Big Foot/Williams Bay was in the driver’s seat. The ball spent very little time near the ChiefDogs’ goal for the remainder of the game, and with BFWB forwards peppering the Cavalier goalkeeper with shots, eventually they’d get one in to take the lead.
It took 20 minutes, but in the 65th minute, Peterson scored to give Big Foot its first lead of the season at 3-2.
A different Peterson, this time junior Olivia Peterson, scored at the 78-minute mark to extend Big Foot’s lead. Despite being an all-conference-caliber player the past two seasons on the defensive side, the goal was Olivia Peterson’s first in her high school career.
After scoring less than a minute into the second half, the ChiefDogs also scored with less than a minute remaining. With 45 seconds on the clock, junior Sophie Rasmussen scored the game’s final goal to go ahead 5-2.
Despite the slow start, Perez was pleased with the play of his players in the remaining 68 minutes of the season-opening match.
“We stepped up, started playing our style of soccer, and got some goals out of that. Sometimes you just start slow. That was a good team to start a season with, a good physical match,” Perez said.
Big Foot/Williams Bay was back at it on April 8 with a road game against Rock Valley Conference foe Edgerton. The ChiefDogs took the Crimson Tide to task, winning 8-1.
A pair of BFWB players picked up hat tricks in the game, as Palmer and Abby Peterson both scored three goals. Peterson also picked up four assists in the contest.
Other goal scorers for the ChiefDogs were junior Taylor Barkes and Vandebogert, who also tallied an assist in the game.
Rasmussen didn’t score a goal against Edgerton, but did pick up a pair of assists.