LAKE MILLS — The goal for the Lake Mills L-Cats is to win games in the second half by being the more conditioned team.
In the season-opener against Jefferson, the L-Cats appeared to be the stronger team in the final 30 minutes forcing Jefferson keeper Hayden Radloff to make two saves while two other shots hit the post.
Though Lake Mills controlled the run of play, Jefferson junior Aaron Heine’s two first-half goals stood up as the Eagles earned a 2-1 victory in non-conference soccer at Lake Mills High School on Tuesday night.
“We’ve only practiced for a week and a half, but they’ve been intense practices,” first-year Lake Mills head coach Tony Cooke said. “We’re happy right now because we see it. We know we’re close to where we want to be. Right now, we played a good half. As the season goes on, we’re going to play good for full games.”
The lone Lake Mills goal came when Brayden Ciesiolka headed in a corner kick by John Wilke in the 75th minute. The L-Cats kept threatening, but the Eagles leaned on Radloff. The most challenging save Radloff made was when John Wilke had a free kick from 30 yards out in the 61st minute. Wilke put the ball in the upper-right corner, but Radloff rejected it.
“I can say Jefferson never had a goalie as good as him,” Jefferson head coach Sam El-Beri said. “He came up last year (to varsity) and he helped us. He made mistakes, but obviously he was learning. He’s been working hard on it all summer and hopefully he’ll keep it up.”
The script was the opposite in the first half. Heine and the Jefferson offense held the majority of the possession and were threatening in the attacking third throughout the opening 25 minutes.
The first Heine goal came after senior Reese Fetherston had a shot on goal from the left side of the 18-yard box. Fetherston picked the pocket of a Lake Mills defender, dribbled once and took his shot, which was redirected into the middle of the field where Heine came crashing in to take a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute.
Heine struck again 15 minutes later on an unassisted goal that proved to be the difference maker.
After that goal, Jefferson lost its grip on the pace of play.
“We had a couple of our big players out, they should be back next week and we should be good,” El-Beri said. “A couple of our guys got hurt tonight and we kept them out after. Brayan Loyo in the middle, he got hurt and he was really important for us.”
Loyo was one of the physical players in the middle for Jefferson that kept Lake Mills uncomfortable in the first half, but was absent in the second half.
“We’re missing a couple of our top players and, to be honest, they’re a bigger, stronger team than we are,” Cooke said. “That took some time to get used to and to figure out how we were going to manage that.”
Lake Mills will continue its season at the Waupun tournament on Saturday. Jefferson will return to action at home Thursday against Watertown Luther Prep at 6:45 p.m.
JEFFERSON 2, LAKE MILLS 1
Eagles 2 0 — 2
L-Cats 0 1 — 1
First half — J, Heine (Fetherston), 25’; J, Heine, 40’.
Second half — LM, Ciesiolka (Wilke), 75’.