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.