In what might go down as one of the best evenings in RHS sports history, the Hodag boys’ soccer team clinched the Great Northern Conference championship in front of their home crowd on Senior Night. The team needed one more conference victory for the clinch, and defeated Medford by a score of 4-1 to net their second title in three years.
The team started out hot as they put the first score on the board, thanks to some beautiful passing up to forward Nate Tvedten. He passed the ball to Nick Wright, who launched a laser of a kick that found the back of Medford’s net at the 14th minute mark. Senior Ben Franson got a nice looking pass from Tvedten as well, and utilized it putting the Hodags up 2-0 18 minutes into the game.
Senior Brad Kenote was the next to score for the Hodags in the 39th minute, and the Hodags entered half with a dominant 3-0 lead. Braxton Hjelle scored the final Hodag goal in the 47th minute. The Hodags then switched up rotations and got the entire roster time on the field. The Raiders added one goal in the 74th minute, but the lead was already out of reach. The Hodags took the final 4-1, winning the title.
“We talked about taking care of winning the conference championship tonight,” explained RHS soccer coach Dan Millot. “We wanted to end it tonight in front of our home fans and play a good game, and we did that.”
Speaking of not only the importance of the championship but also senior night, coach Millot said, “We were able to win the game and every kid on the roster got playing time. Seniors saw significant playing time, and in what could be their last home game, that was important. Our first goal was to win, and to be able to do that plus get all those kids in the game was extremely important.”
The senior leadership was on full display tonight, as three seniors scored three goals and keeper Conar LaBelle had another memorable performance in goal. Coach Millot himself recognized the effort his seniors put in and the team’s effort as a whole.
“Conar LaBelle was in control of the game from start to finish,” Millot said. “Every single senior put their effort on the field tonight and it came through in the win. The underclassmen stepped up and it was a complete team effort.”
The win pushes the Hodags to 11-5-4, 7-0-2 in the GNC. Next on the schedule for the Hodags is a visit to Antigo to challenge the Red Robins on Thursday, Oct. 4. Being that their seeding and conference title is already locked up, look for the Hodags to let some younger or less experienced players see some valuable time on the field.