The Rhinelander High School boys' soccer proved to have another close battle on the road at Mosinee on Thursday afternoon. The Great Northern Conference match was originally scheduled at Mike Webster Stadium but the games were exchanged due to poor field conditions. RHS rallied back from being down 2-1 at halftime and scored two goals to earn a 3-2 victory.
Senior Matthew Von Oepen led the way with a pair of goals for Rhinelander in the win. And fellow senior Hunter Hicks scored the game winner midway through the second-half.
It didn't take the Hodags' long to get on board in the conference match. Von Oepen scored an unassisted goal 25-yards back that connected to the bottom right corner.
RHS would have several more opportunities in the first half, but were unable to capitalize until the second half. Joseph Heck had back-to-back chances at the net starting in the ninth minute. The first shot sailed up and over the cross bar, and the second was right at keeper senior keeper Adam Moucha.
From there, momentum swung to the Indians who were able to make some runs past Rhinelander's defense. In the 22nd minute, Mosinee's top returning scorer from 2017, Cole Vandehey went on a run up the right flank and fired a shot that deflected off the right goal post. Just a minute later he tied the game up 1-1 after heading in a cross from freshman Cole Holtz to the back post.
The Indians would strike again in the 41st minute. This time the Hodags’ defense tried to catch Mosinee offsides on a run, and senior Tim Goppel was able to flick a pass inside the box and Vandehey struck again. The Indians would take a 2-1 advantage at the break.
In the second half, Mosinee would appear to nearly have another break in the 63rd minute, but senior keeper Josh Randolph pushed out just before the 18-yard box to make a nice stop.
Rhinelander would score the equalizer in the 64th minute. Senior defender Freddy Wisner would take a direct free kick and Von Oepen was there to find the back of the net. The Hodags' controlled the tempo from there.
Sophomore Hugh Wiese had a nice pass inside the 18 to Hicks, who riffled a shot to the bottom right corner that Moucha deflected out of bounds in the 66th minute. Just two minutes later Von Oepen fired a shot 20-yards back that was bobbled by Moucha and Hicks crashed the rebound and scored what proved to be the game-winning goal.
In the match, Rhinelander outshot Mosinee 19-7 overall and held a 9-4 advantage on shots on goal. RHS also had six more corner kicks on the night and Randolph charted the win with two saves.
The Hodags are now 1-0-1 in the GNC and 2-2-2 overall. Rhinelander remains one full game behind Northland Pines in the conference standings. RHS will face the Eagles on the road on Tuesday. Kickoff is set for 5:00PM.