Boys varsity soccer coach Nathan Bates knew that coaching a very young team, would come with its share of growing pains. After a frustrating week and a half where the Hodags went 0-2-1, Rhinelander soccer may be turning the corner. In a tightly contested battle on Thursday night at Mike Webster Stadium, the Hodags played the top team in the Great Northern Conference to a 0-0 tie.
In the previous three matches, Rhinelander lost to Shawano and Medford, and tied Antigo 1-1."I told the team that even after that rough week that we are still in the middle of the pack of the GNC conference", said coach Bates.
In the game against the Eagles, scoring opportunities were almost dead even as well as shots on goal. Intensity and playing a complete ninety minutes have been an issue plaguing the Hodags all season long. The team has shown bits and pieces of putting it all together in games against Wausau East, Lakeland and Mosinee. Last night against Northland Pines, Rhinelander proved that they can play with the best.
"I spoke to the coach of Eagle River after the game, and he was impressed with our improvement from our first meeting where we lost 2-0, to the match tonight", said coach Bates. "We've had a number of game situations where game officials have made calls that have hurt us, but being a younger team we are able to forget, and put those things behind us".
After play on Thursday the GNC standings have Northland Pines at 2-0-1, Medford at 2-1-1, Rhinelander and Mosinee tied for third at 1-1-2, Lakeland at 1-2-1 and Antigo at 0-2-1.
The Hodags will play Three Lakes on Monday September 30 at 7pm at Mike Webster Stadium.