Elkhorn boys soccer advances to sectional final
ELKHORN--Jeroham Duran waited patiently through the first 60 minutes of a soccer match on Thursday night.
When the Elkhorn senior finally got the chance to take the game into his own hands, he didn’t waste it.
Milton dominated possession well into the second half of a Division 2 sectional semifinal, but Duran broke through with the game’s lone goal in the 61st minute, moving his team within one game of advancing to the state tournament.
“It took me a while,” Duran said. “Their defender was fast at the back and I was kind of getting impatient, but it finally came. He pushed me off the ball, but I got the shot off.
“I guess patience paid off. It was only one, but it was worth it.”
Duran saw very little action as the Elks’ key forward in the first half.
Milton patiently built offensive looks and sent five shots on goal to Elkhorn’s one. It nearly broke through just before halftime when junior Trevor Mays took the ball at the top of the scoring box, spun and fired a shot on net, but Elks senior Riley Bruce stopped it.
It was one of eight saves on the night for Bruce.
“We aren’t the most skilled team, but what we are is a team with a lot of heart,” Elkhorn coach BZ Kayser said. “These guys play hard, play with heart and are disciplined. A lot of teams wouldn’t play that type of defensive style that we play, and it’s hard to get the players to buy into it, but they understand where they’re at.”
The Red Hawks continued to put together the best chances through the first 20 minutes of the second half, but struggled to put quality shots on frame.
“Once we settled down, we completely controlled the game and did exactly what we wanted,” Milton coach Ryan Wagner said. “We used our fullbacks getting up, sent in cross after cross, got off shot after shot. It was just one of those games where the ball does not go in the back of the net.”
The Elks tallied just six shots—four of them on goal—but made use of their best opportunity.
Junior captain Chandler Kayser battled to win a ball near the center circle, then fired a lead pass ahead to Duran. Duran was a half-step ahead of defenders charging into the box toward the right post, then got just enough on a low shot to send it into the bottom left corner of the net.
“I knew my chance would come,” Duran said. “I just didn’t know when. My team, some of us have been playing since we were 6 years old. We have a saying, ‘Hold the rope,’ and you don’t let any of your teammates down.
“That’s the code we live by.”
The Elks will take on No. 2-ranked Oregon at Waunakee on Saturday in a sectional final.
Elkhorn will attempt to advance to state for the second time in three years. It advanced in the Division 1 bracket in 2011.
“I always know our guys are going to work hard,” Kayser said. “And when you work hard, chances happen.”
ELKHORN 1, MILTON 0
Milton 0 0—0
Elkhorn 0 1—1
Elk—Jeroham Duran (Chandler Kayser), 60:49.
Statistics: Saves—Nick Drew (M) 3, Riley Bruce (E) 8. Shots—Milton 17, Elkhorn 6. Shots on goal—Milton 8, Elkhorn 4. Fouls—Milton 2, Elkhorn 5. Corner kicks—Milton 3, Elkhorn 1.