The Neenah boys' soccer team's 2-1 victory over Kimberly will go down as an important early-season 'W' over a key conference rival.
That doesn't mean that Rockets head coach Harry Kelderman was necessarily pleased at his team's overall performance, especially an ineffective first half by his team that had Kelderman shaking his head.
"Yes, I thought we played much better in the second half, but I thought we took a lot of things for granted in the first half," Kelderman said. "I thought we were very lazy in the first half and I thought Kimberly dictated the whole first half of play, by far.
"I was a little ashamed at what I saw the first 40 minutes."
The Papermakers, a WIAA state qualifier in Division 1 last season, jumped ahead on Friday on a beautiful header from junior midfielder Cory Call off a corner kick from Peter Schommer in the 9th minute.
Kimberly (3-2 overall, 0-1 FVA) held the 1-0 lead at the half, but the Rockets immediately pressured the goal at the start of the second half.
That pressure led to an early goal within the first two minutes of the second half when the Rockets' Trevor Brost converted off a feed from teammate Adam Pohlman.
Pohlman, a UW-Milwaukee recruit, assisted on the Rockets' second score in the 60th minute, with Cesar Garcia converting to give Neenah the 2-1 advantage.
"This was a big game for us and winning this really sets the standard for our team," Brost said. "I think we can only get better."
Kelderman said that his team played much better as a unit in the second half.
"When you get into a game like this, it's not so much technical or tactical, you have to learn to play as a team," he said. "We're still trying to do that and we played as 11 individuals in the first half and I thought that was the big difference.
"In the second half, we started stringing things together instead of worrying about dribble, dribble, dribble."
Kimberly fell to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the FVA, but Kimberly coach Carl Gardner is upbeat about his team this season.
"Our guys -- after a tough weekend and the competition against Brookfield -- you would think in any other situation you might come back; look at Neenah, 'Oh gosh!' " he said. "But the boys came back and were energized to take on a strong opponent.
"I love playing Neenah and (Harry Kelderman) they bring a true form of the game and I think we prepared well for them."
Goals: Cory Call K (Peter Schommer) 8:57; Trevor Brost N (Adam Pohlman) 41:56; Cesar Garcia N (Pohlman) 59:33.
-- Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or email@example.com; On Twitter @PCRIcardo