Delavan-Darien High School’s Ozzy Torres prepares to kick the ball for a pass down the field to a teammate during the Comet’s 7-1 win over Union Grove on Sept. 14. (Madeleine Freitag photo)

By Kevin Cunningham


The defending state champion Delavan-Darien High School boys soccer team entered last week with a 10-0-1 record and five games on its schedule to be played in five days. The five games came and went, and the Comets are still unbeaten, now at 15-0-1 overall.

One week prior, the team lost midfielder Jaime Rodriguez to an injury, but responded with five straight victories.

“Against that caliber of team that we’re playing [in the first couple games], we’re going to do fine,” Comets head coach Mike Marse said. “He’s a hard guy to replace, but once we see some bigger, faster teams, it will hurt us a bit.”

In the first two games of the week, the Comets faced Waterford and Union Grove, winning by a combined score of 17-1. In the contest against Waterford – which ended 10-0 – Zeus Huerta scored five goals with four coming in the first half. Jason Cano would score four, with two apiece in each half.

Against Union Grove, Huerta provided the team with a hat trick, leading the Comets to a 7-1 victory. Following the two initial contests, the Comets participated in an Appleton Xavier Tournament. The team faced Nicolet first, and led 2-1 at half.

The second half would play out and go scoreless, ending in the one-goal victory for the Comets.

“[Nicolet] had a lot of speed, and that’s what I was worried about with our defense,” Marse said. “I think we did pretty good defensively with the speed they threw at us. We really haven’t seen a lot of that this year. Their goal was on a set piece, which, you know, it’s something we need to work on. We’ll be doing that this week for sure.”

Hugo Valadez, the Comets’ goalkeeper, made eight saves in the game. Marse said he is definitively the guy to be counted on going forward.

“In the games where it’s faster and we need tight defense, he’s our guy,” Marse said.

Following the 2-1 victory, where Huerta scored both goals, the Comets played Fox Valley Lutheran and Eau Claire North to close out the tournament. Delavan-Darien would win the first game, 6-2, and the second, 6-1.

“We’re still trying to play a little more difficult than we have to, but those two teams didn’t have as much speed, so we were able to do some things offensively that we couldn’t do against Nicolet,” Marse said. “I think we gave up one or two set piece goals in those games and that’s something we haven’t worked a lot on, but we will start to. Sometimes those goals are the decider.

“Overall, we’re playing well. In the games where our offense can’t score, the defense seems to pick it up. That last game, I had no complaints. Eau Claire North had a couple of really big forwards who were really fast and we held them to score only one goal. I even told one of the coaches, it was only a matter of time until they score again, and, they didn’t.”

With 16 games played, Delavan-Darien has eight regular season games remaining. With two-thirds of the regular season already played, Marse said his team believes they can repeat as champions.

“I had told them at the beginning of the season that our roster may be a bit different, but we expect the same results every year,” Marse said. “There’s a lot of talent on our team. I think the biggest thing – and it goes back to the set plays and corners and that kind of stuff – is our ability to think on the field. Sometimes they wait for me to holler at them and we talk about how they need to be able to make those decisions.

“I think that’s the difference [compared to last year]. This team is younger. It was almost all seniors starting [last year] and this year it’s almost all juniors starting. The team actually kind of reminds me of the team that went undefeated until sectionals the year before, where, they weren’t too sure what they were doing on set plays and stuff. I think that’s what we work on most, is making decisions and we’ll go through different plays. I think it will come along.”

Up next for the Comets are two games this week with one against Wilmot and the other against Badger. The next home game is scheduled for a 6:30 p.m. start on Sept. 28 against Burlington.




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