ALTOONA — McDonell/Regis appears to be clicking at just the right time, downing Altoona/Fall Creek 5-0 in its regular season finale on Tuesday night in Altoona.
The Saints controlled play all night, netting one goal in the first half before breaking out for four in the second. They only once allowed Altoona to get a true scoring chance, late in 86th minute when the Railroaders had a breakaway chance but got caught offside, squandering their lone scoring opporunity.
“I was really pleased with the way we defended tonight, I was really pleased with the way we pressured the ball tonight, I was really pleased with our movement,” Saints coach Joe Cash said. “This was probably one of the better games this season.”
McDonell/Regis had numerous scoring chances early. Evan Flak could have netted a pair at the 11th and 14th minute but sent both shots just over the crossbar, keeping the game scoreless.
In the 36th minute, the Saints broke through when Mason Swoboda sent one to the back of the net from 35-yards out.
“I saw an open gap and I took it,” Swoboda said.
It was the lone goal in a first half controlled by McDonell/Regis.
However, after tying Altoona/Fall Creek 1-1 in the team’s last meeting, the Saints got to work in the second half, starting in the 56th minute when Flak headed in a corner from Logan Huges to give McDonell/Regis a two-goal lead.
Four minutes later, the Saints struck again when Trent Witkowski sent a shot into the bottom right corner of the net, just off the hands of Rails keeper Liam O’Connell.
In the 72nd minute, Swoboda struck again, this time on a cross from Logan Hughes, before Flak wrapped up the scoring netting a chip shot over O’Connell’s head in the 78th minute.
“They did what seniors do,” Cash said of Swoboda and Flak. “They were in the right place at the right time. They were unselfish and kept the ball rotating and when they got their chances to shoot, they put it where it needed to go.”
It was McDonell/Regis’ biggest victory this season, and now they’ll turn their attention toward Wisconsin Valley Lutheran and the Division 4 state playoffs which start on Tuesday.
“I hope the boys see that they’re capable of playing a solid 90 minutes without letting up,” Cash said. “We made mistakes like we make every game, but I always tell the boys it’s not about the mistakes, it’s about how fast you fix them and tonight we fixed them fast.”
For Altoona/Fall Creek, it was the last regular season home game for a the senior class that has been around since the birth of the Rails soccer program.
“This means a lot, this is our fifth year with the soccer team at Altoona and our second year with the varsity team, all these boys were here right when it started in their eighth grade year,” Rails coach Evan Fruit said.
Altoona/Fall Creek will look to bounce back in its regular season finale at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday before the Rails start their Division 3 playoffs on Tuesday at home against Spooner.