WAUNAKEE — Ben Voss watched how hard Waunakee senior midfielder Josie Bono worked throughout Saturday night’s non-conference girls soccer match against Middleton.
Voss, in his second season as Waunakee’s coach, was thrilled to see Bono’s tireless effort rewarded in the end.
Bono, on the right wing, rocketed a 20-yard strike into the upper part of the net 81 minutes, 26 seconds into the game between the ranked teams, giving the Warriors a 2-1 victory.
“My goal really just came from our team working hard and staying high, pressing the other team and forcing them to make mistakes,” Bono said. “I just saw an opportunity and took it.”
Waunakee (11-1-2) entered the match ranked second in Division 1 in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll and fourth overall, which includes all divisions. Middleton (6-3-2) was ranked seventh in Division 1 this week.
“It’s a big game for us,” said Bono, the daughter of University of Wisconsin wrestling coach Chris Bono. “This is one of our greatest competitors and it feels good to beat a good team.”
Voss said Bono remains calm and collected.
“I think we needed that this year,” Voss said. “She moved here for her senior year, to Waunakee. Her dad takes the wrestling job with the Badgers. … We love having her. She is such a hard worker. She sets the pace for our team with her work ethic.”
Waunakee scored the game’s first goal at 33:06.
Warriors junior forward Anne Dotzler scored, cleaning up a loose ball in front of the goal and tapping it in after Waunakee senior forward Sarah McLaughlin’s shot was deflected.
Middleton sophomore forward Victoria Bunz, maneuvering in from the left side, tied the game 1-1 with an unassisted goal at 51:18. The Cardinals continued to apply pressure after that.
Bunz narrowly missed giving the Cardinals the lead when her shot hit the crossbar and Middleton junior midfielder Kendall Roquet’s rebound attempt was stopped by Waunakee senior goalkeeper Alyssa Kuhn, who made a diving save at 57:49. Kuhn was credited with six saves.
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“Victoria finished one and we had a couple more chances we could have finished,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. “It was a good game.”
The Warriors responded when Bunz, who plans to attend UW, scored the winner off an assist from senior forward and Butler University commit Maddie Farnsworth.
“I love it,” Voss said. “I love the response. The team kept working and got rewarded for it. Josie’s goal was not a fluke. We were putting them under pressure. We made them cough up a ball and she was in the right spot. … A great first touch and then just an excellent delivery. Just a fantastic shot, which was great. I think she got rewarded for the work ethic she put in for 90 minutes.”
Voss said his team “took Middleton’s best punch in the first half,” and did a good job staying the course in gaining the 1-0 lead at halftime.
Waunakee, after reaching a WIAA Division 2 sectional final last year, moved into Division 1 this year and Saturday’s match was seen as important for postseason seeding.
Waunakee, after defeating Portage/Poynette 3-0 Friday night, was the Badger North Conference leader, ahead of Sauk Prairie and Mount Horeb.
Janesville Craig and defending conference champion Middleton have been leading the Big Eight Conference in a tight race with Sun Prairie, Madison West and Madison Memorial.
Middleton 0 1 — 1
Waunakee 1 1 — 2
First half: W Dotzler (McLaughlin), 33:06.
Second half: M Bunz (unassisted), 51:18; W Bono (Farnsworth), 81:26.
Saves: M (Gehrke-Kallstromer) 2; W (Kuhn) 6.