Comets (from left) Osvaldo Torres, Edward Aranda and Adrian Fonseca stand in a defensive line of Grafton’s Max Stilb direct freekick in Delavan-Darien’s regional win over Grafton at Badger High School on Oct. 18. (Vianney Perez photo)

By Kevin Cunningham


At 14-5-4 overall, Delavan-Darien High School’s boys soccer team earned a No. 6 seed in its regional for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association tournament. In 2016, the Comets won the state title.

One year later, the team made it back to the final, but lost 2-1. Now, in 2018, Delavan-Darien started its postseason play against Grafton and advanced with a 6-1 victory on Oct. 18.

The Comets scored the first three goals of the game and went on to win by five.

“We play well on the turf,” said Comets head coach Mike Marse. “It ended up not being a close game. Grafton plays in a good conference, but I think they were a little surprised by us. I was actually a little surprised. We played really well. I think the turf had something to do with that.”

Two days later, Marse’s group had to play New Berlin West. Coming into the postseason, Delavan-Darien was ranked by as the No. 9 team in all of Division 3. In just the second round, the Comets played a New Berlin West team that was ranked No. 1.

The first half went the Comets’ way, as the team had a 1-0 lead going into halftime. In the second half, however, New Berlin West scored two goals roughly 10 minutes apart from each other, eventually leading to a 2-1 final score.

The loss marks the end of Delavan-Darien’s season.

“I actually did go watch them the day before and got a scouting report on them,” Marse said. “They pretty much did what we thought they would do. We scored early, but they were a pretty direct team and they take out your midfield so that you can’t use your midfield. That’s how they got their goals.

“This year player-wise has been an obstacle for the team. We haven’t had a full team ever. Saturday was no different.”

Throughout the season, Delavan-Darien lost starters to injury. The team was without five of its projected starters going into the game against top-ranked New Berlin West. Marse said he wouldn’t have changed anything preparation-wise.

“I don’t think there’s anything we could’ve done differently,” he said. “We all knew what we had to do, but, it just didn’t happen. That game, I don’t have any regrets on what I did coaching-wise. It’s been one of those seasons where if something could go wrong, it would.

“When you’re playing important games like Elkhorn and Pius and you’re missing play-makers that would make a difference on the field, it’s just hard to compete. This team – it’s basically the same the last two years – they overcame all of that. The same thing that happened this year basically happened last year. Last year, we overcame it. This year, it was just so much; we couldn’t keep up with it.”

After the game, Marse said the boys were upset,of course.

“I thanked the seniors for playing high school soccer,” Marse said. “I told them that we experienced so many good things over the last three years that the majority of those seniors were on the team. We’ve been to a couple state finals, and don’t let this sit with you. Think about what we’ve accomplished over that time and I was proud of them no matter what.

“They’ve been able to overcome all these things thrown in front of them and that tonight we just couldn’t do it.”



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