PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. — The West Salem High School boys soccer team's first loss of the season is also its last.
The Panthers, who put together a very impressive WIAA Division 2 postseason run, had it come to an end with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of top-seeded Sauk Prairie (10-2-3) in a sectional final on Saturday.
West Salem (5-1-2) managed just three shots on goal after scoring four times in each of its previous three games to come up one win short of its first state appearance.
The Panthers allowed one goal in the first half, two more in the second and had trouble setting itself up for good scoring opportunities.
"It’s a lot of things (that were) going on here," West Salem coach Ammar Sabar said. "First thing, it’s their home; the other thing it’s turf — we’ve never played on turf this year — the wind; changing times from 1 to 4; and plus we just played a game (Thursday). We couldn’t even practice yesterday—we gave them a break — and now we are playing.
"I think it was just management (by the) WIAA. But they’re a good team. We tried our best but we are tired — we played a tough game against Mosinee and we came back here with just one day break. We did our best, but with the turf and the wind, I think they played a lot better against us."
Despite difficulty putting together an attack, the Panthers took the field in the second half trailing by just one goal, and that gave them a fighting chance the rest of the way.
“We were (OK with the situation at halftime," Sabar said. "We talked about it, and we made some changes, but unfortunately we didn’t execute.
"... We didn’t execute the way that we wanted, but I’m proud of the guys—they did their best and they played so hard. We are one of the top eight teams in the state. That’s something big.”
Capital Newspapers' Dan Larson contributed to this story