The La Crescent High School boys soccer team has been building for this moment.
The Lancers knocked on the door of a Three Rivers Conference championship for a couple of seasons before reeling in a share of its first one by beating Winona Cotter 5-1 last week.
La Crescent didn’t get off to the best start this season — it was 1-3 — but it has put together an 11-1-1 performance since that slow start and beat the Ramblers 6-0 in the first round of the MSHSL Section 1A playoffs on a rainy Tuesday night.
The fifth-seeded Lancers, who are conference champions for the first time since winning the Wissota Bridges in 2005, host 13th-seeded Byron in a second-round game at 5 p.m.Thursday.
An 8-2 conference mark left the Lancers in a tie with St. Charles/Lewiston-Altura.
“I kind of saw while I was sitting on the bench that we all just started to click and started to work more as a team than playing as individuals,” said Lancers’ senior forward Josh Weigel, who missed half of the season with a torn labrum. “That’s when I think we turned a corner as a team.”
Up front, the Lancers pack a punch with sophomore forward Isaac Petersen leading the team in scoring with 20 points (14 goals, six assists) entering the postseason. Junior forward Alex Boudreau had eight goals and four assists during the regular season. Weigel has proved to be another offensive threat with six goals in the seven games he’s played.
In the midfield, senior captain Tanner Corcoran had 12 points (eight goals, four assists), and freshman Andy Lopez was a favorable addition with 14 points (eight goals, six assists). Reaching back to the Lancers’ last defenders in net, both keepers — senior Josh Hackworth (1.04) and sophomore Mitch Dryden (1.17) — have allowed just over a goal a game.
“What’s nice is that we have a little depth,” La Crescent coach JP Piche said. “Whereas we have some guys on the bench, and two goalies that could probably start on any other team in our conference.”