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Landon Theisen goes up for a header with Wahlert’s Nathan Besler during the second half of Western Dubuque’s Class 2A Substate 4 quarterfinal match.

Something that the Western Dubuque boys’ soccer team has always shown this season has been effort. However, that all-out effort that they showed on the field just wasn’t enough as they lost their Class 2A Substate 4 First Round match to Wahlert, 10-0, in Dubuque, May 20.

From the opening kick, the Bobcats didn’t look like a team who didn’t win a match the entire regular season and they didn’t play like one either. Wahlert (8-8), the 14th ranked team in Class 2A, took advantage of a couple of early scoring opportunities to give themselves a comfortable 2-0 lead just over five minutes into the game. Nathan Donovan strongly struck a header past Dakota Volkens, the Bobcats’ goalkeeper, on a pass from Jayden Lukan for that second goal.

“The effort is all we can ask for when things aren’t going our way,” said Cliff Conrad, head coach. “I’m really proud of the guys with how they bounced back from a really rough start to the season to playing some good matches and some good soccer here and there.”

Even after Wahlert had built their lead to 5-0 with 19:45 left to play in the first half, Western Dubuque was making them work for everything they got. But they just couldn’t make the next play or connect on the next pass mainly because they were under constant pressure by the athletic Golden Eagles.

“Soccer is a really simple game, but it’s the hardest thing to play simple. You make a bad touch and you lose your chance of moving past someone or making a pass to someone because you couldn’t control the ball. Things like that come with a lot of focused practice,” said Conrad.

The Bobcats kept working and making offensive pushes up the field and with just under 12 minutes to play, Bryce Coyle managed to fire their first shot on goal.

Donovan and the rest of the Golden Eagles continued to attack the goal as he scored his fourth goal of the game to give Wahlert a 7-0 lead into halftime.

Western Dubuque created the first good goal-scoring opportunity of the second half. Just over five minutes in, Eric Monahan broke free from the pack running with the ball almost the entire length of the field until he delivered a quality crossing pass that bounced past Coyle near the middle of the goal and Brian Kammiller, who was charging the back post, just missed getting a foot on the ball with a wide-open net in front of him.

Wahlert didn’t score their first goal of the second half until Tyler Dodds found the back of the net with 26:19 left to play making the score 8-0.

The Bobcats had their best scoring chance of the match when Kammiller started the push on the right side near the middle of the field. He punched the ball ahead to Jordan Veach who was free near the mouth of the goal. Veach got his foot on the ball to get off a shot on goal, but he’s probably still thinking about what he could have done differently to get a goal in that situation.

Just over 10 minutes later, Dodds added another goal to make it 9-0. The game was stopped when little-used Tony Montag scored with only 1:20 left on the clock.

“This game is not one that you can learn in a year. I’d be willing to bet that every player on Wahlert’s team has five or six years’ worth of experience on our guys if not more,” said Conrad. “They have a really good squad with a good coach and they are always in and around the conversation when people talk about teams going to Des Moines. Good luck to them in their next match.”

Earlier in the week, these same two teams played in the regular-season finale for both teams. The match was very similar as Wahlert jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first half and closed the match by scoring three goals in the second half. Donovan scored three times in that contest while Dodds, Brant Perry and Ian Takes scored twice.

Monahan and Nathan Besler each managed to get off a shot in that game.