The Rhinelander High School boys' soccer finished their regular Great Northern Conference schedule with a 2-1 road victory over Medford on Thursday. The Hodags were able to keep the Raiders in check and held on to earn a one-goal win at Raider Field and finished in third in the conference standings.
Seniors Matthew Von Oepen and Martin Hoger each charted goals in the first 30 minutes of the match for Rhinelander as both teams had to face rigorous cold and windy conditions.
Medford’s Junus Telli would put the Raiders ahead 1-0 in the 13th minute as he used his speed to get past the Hodags' defense and put one past senior keeper Josh Randolph. But from that point Rhinelander kept Telli and teammate Onyi Ekwueme in check the rest of the match. Ekwueme and Telli are both in the top-six in GNC scoring while Von Oepen leds the conference with 19 goals.
Rhinelander drew equal in the 20th minute when Von Oepen had a well-placed cross just inside the 18-yard box and Hoger was there to put one in the back of the net. The Hodag duo then paired up in the 26th minute, his time Hoger delivered the cross and Von Oepen would connect in what proved to be the game-winning goal.
The Hodags held a 15-7 advantage on total shots in the match and 11-6 on shots on goal. Randolph finished the night with five saves in the win.
Northland Pines won the GNC title and had a perfect 10-0 record. Mosinee finished runner-up a 7-3 and Rhinelander placed third at 5-3-2. Medford finished fourth at 4-6.
RHS will now focus on post season play with the WIAA seeding meeting coming up this weekend and regionals set for Thursday. The Hodags will have to wait and see where and who they will face in the opening round of the Division 3 bracket.
The Rhinelander High School boys soccer team would come ou flat on Tuesday night in a Great Northern Conference match against Antigo at the RHS soccer fields. But the Hodags would finally hit their stride and would rally for an 11-1 mercy rule victory on senior night.
It was suiting that the seniors played a role in nine of the goals on the night and they were led by Matthew Von Oepen who recorded four goals on the evening.
Senior Josh Randolph, who is Rhinelander's starting goalie was moved to a forward and took advantage and charted two goals including the first of the night. Fellow senior Martin Hoger delivered a ball inside the box and Randolph connected to the top middle in the fifth minute of the match.
But despite several opportunities on goal, the Hodags did not strike again until the 21st minute. Von Oepen scored his first goal of the evening. And senior Hunter Hicks followed and scored on a rebound off Von Oepen’s shot in the 31st minute to put RHS up 3-0.
Von Oepen scored his second goal of the night in the 36th minute when he beat Antigo's defense and connected 10-yards back to the bottom right corner. Just three minutes later Von Oepen completed his hat trick on a shot beyond the penalty area to the bottom left corner to give the Hodags a 5-0 advantage at halftime.
The Robins scored their only goal of the evening in the 49th minute when Jared McFarlane found Garrett Husnick on a run. Husnick put one past freshman keeper Gavin Ostermann. But it was the Hodags the rest of the way, who would scored six straight and end the match early via mercy rule.
In the 52nd minute, Von Oepen scored his fourth and final goal of the night to give Rhinelander a 6-1 advantage. Then in the 56th minute Von Oepen was taken out inside the 18-yard box and senior Freddy Wisner took the PK and connected to the top right corner.
Wisner would strike again this time in the 61st minute. Hicks assisted Wisner on his second goal that he took a few dribbles and connected to the bottom right to put RHS up 8-1.
Sophomore Hugh Wiese scored less than two minutes later to put Rhinelander up by eight goals. Randolph followed with his second goal of the night. And Harrison Shinners scored in the 68th minute to end the match early.
The Hodags outshot Antigo 32-7 overall and held a 23-5 advantage on shots on goal. Ostermann earned the win and recorded four saves.
Rhinelander will conclude their Great Northern Conference regular season tonight when they travel to Medford. RHS is now 6-5-3 overall and 4-3-2 in the conference. The WIAA Division 3 playoffs will then begin next week.
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