September 19, 2023 at 5:40 a.m.

Lakeland boys’ soccer shuts out Antigo

Sports Reporter

It’s been mostly home games for the Lakeland boys’ soccer team. They’ve taken care of business with an undefeated home record. They won their first true road game on Thursday in convincing fashion.

The Thunderbirds shut out Antigo 7-0 for their third straight win. Lakeland has played every team in the GNC at least once, beating every team but Rhinelander. 

“It was a good game. I know that Antigo (is) not the strongest opponent and have not been for years, but we were trying to think when was the last time we went to Antigo and beat them that high of a score, and I don’t think it’s happened since (assistant coach) John (Tharman) and I have been catching,” coach Ihor Myshchyshyn said. “It was a very good score for us … especially if the field has been chewed up, wet field, it impacts us quite a bit and this one was nice to see boys overcoming that and being able to score quite a few goals in the game.”

Thursday’s game was the first time Lakeland played on grass this season. Once they adjusted to it, they soared to victory.

“It’s hard to even explain (to those) that aren’t playing how hard it is to settle the ball and settle it quickly when it just goes all over the place,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “We kind of had to settle somewhere in the middle, and I think boys were able to figure out that happy medium between still learning to do some … possession and get rid of it or send it over the backline quick enough to create lanes, and we capitalized on it.”

Yaroslav Myshchyshyn had the hat trick in the first half with three goals. His first came at 13:26 with a penalty kick.

Just 1:19 later, Yaroslav Myshchyshyn scored again on a pass from Dominic Gironella. Yaroslav Myshchyshyn chipped it in for his second goal.

Brett Peterson crossed the ball in the box at the 20th minute. Yaroslav Myshchyshyn was there to tap it in for his third goal in a span of less than six minutes.

Lakeland led 3-0 at halftime. It was the second straight game they led 3-0 at halftime against a conference foe.

“The team’s been growing quite well. They’re finding the ways to score and at the half yesterday we were three up and at that point we missed some chances, but we knew for our comfort we needed a few more goals and at the same time due to the field, boys were tired,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “They’re not used to playing on grass. We’re trying to figure out how to play the second half without overstraining ourselves on a rough field like that.”

The Thunderbirds had a season-high 10 offsides called against them in Antigo. The Red Robin defense played up, causing the Thunderbirds to be offsides a few times. At other points of the game, the Thunderbirds capitalized on the Antigo defense with goals. Coach Myshchyshyn considered it a worthy trade-off.

“I have to give it to Antigo. They probably played that backline the best line we’ve played anybody trying to catch us offsides. The times that they didn’t, quite often paid (for it with a) good chance or a goal in their net. A lot of coaches will get on their players — a couple yards and you’re not focused, and that’s one thing,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “You might get caught two times and third time did not … you made your run just right and capitalized in the net. All the other ones (that were) offsides to me, I could say paid off. Cam (Bernard) wasn’t there, our starting forward, so we played new forwards so that could have contributed to the other offsides.”

The goals kept coming in the second half. Peterson scored at 41:58 with a left shot from the top of the box. 

At the 61st minute, Yaroslav Myshchyshyn scored his fourth goal of the contest, tying a season-high he had Aug. 22 vs. Three Lakes. He went one-on-one with the Antigo keeper, scoring low left.

Leo Rotar punched in his first goal of his senior season. With the Thunderbirds up 5-0 in the second half, Rotar and Yaroslav Myshchyshyn switched places. Lakeland had a chance at their second penalty kick goal of the game. Rotar, playing offense, stepped up to take the kick, scoring at 62:55.

“At some point the score got comfortable enough for us where we switched the lines. I did a lot of rotations with JV players. We were getting tired. I moved Yaroslav to Leo’s position on defense to cement that and pushed Leo in Yaroslav’s position so when (there was an) opportunity to score a PK, Leo was there, and he did a great job putting one in the net.”

The final goal came a couple of minutes later courtesy of Ethan Seeliger. He scored off a pass from the top of the box, going top right. Jack Stepec was awarded the assist. 

Coach Myshchyshyn was happy to get many players playing time, including several members of the JV team. Players gained valuable experience playing a healthy number of minutes on the field in a team win.

“Quite often (you) put them in in a short time, especially when they jump a level up,” coach Myshchyshyn said. “(JV players) got (a lot of) time. They were tired by the time the JV game came along, settling and get comfortable out there.”

Defensively, the Thunderbirds allowed just four shots, two on goal, in their second shutout of the season.

Lakeland played another home game vs. a non-conference opponent on Monday vs. Washburn. Coverage of this game will be in the Friday, Sept. 22 edition of the Times.

Up next, the Thunderbirds (8-1, 4-1) play Friday, Sept. 22 at Northland Pines starting at 7 p.m.

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].


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