Dave Perkins understands the soccer season is a marathon, not a sprint.
The Verona boys head coach had to reiterate that to his team following the Wildcats’ 2-2 draw to Madison West Thursday, Sept. 9, at Goodman Sports Complex in Madison.
Verona led 2-0 with just over 20 minutes to go, but Madison West’s Xavier Stein netted a goal in the 68th and 70th minutes to deadlock the game at 2-2.
Both defenses did their jobs the rest of the way as Verona and West both opened up Big Eight Conference play 0-0-1.
While the tie wasn’t the ideal result for a Verona team up 2-0 in the second half — Perkins knows there is a long way to go in the Big Eight title race.
“We would have liked to walk away with a victory to open up conference play with a win,” Perkins said. “I told the guys a tie is not a bad result. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. There is a lot more to go. We’re not a finished product.”
After a scoreless first half, the Wildcats broke the 0-0 deadlock in the 47th minute when junior Alex Klimm scored an unassisted goal to make it 1-0.
“We shifted our midfield around a little bit, put some more numbers in their half,” Perkins said. “We got a good response out of that, got an early goal.”
Sophomore Connor Gage extended the Verona advantage to 2-0 in the 61st.
Stein cut the deficit in half in the 68th when a scramble off a long Madison West free kick resulted in the Regent junior finding the back of the net. Less than two minutes later in the 70th, Stein was able to weave through the Verona defense and kick it past junior keeper Liam Updegrove — who was subbed in after starting senior goalie Alexander Knoll was hurt during Stein’s first score.
“We had a couple mistakes and unfortunately those couple mistakes led to goals for them,” Perkins said. “I was really happy with the majority of the game. Obviously we have things we need to iron out in those other two moments.”
The Wildcats earned a corner kick with 10 seconds in the match, but were unable to break the tie.
Verona 5, McFarland 0
Verona earned a nonconference victory over McFarland on Monday, Sept. 13, at Verona High School.
With the win, the Wildcats moved to 4-1-1 on the season.