JANESVILLE — Beloit Memorial’s boys soccer team tuned up for the postseason with a 2-0 victory over Janesville Craig in its regular-season opener.
The Purple Knights pushed their record to 18-4-1 as they head into WIAA playoff action. Beloit will host its regional opener Tuesday at 6 p.m. against Westosha Central at Jacobson Field.
Against Craig, the Knights grabbed the lead in the ninth minute when freshman Jose Barron recorded his 19th goal of the season. He stole a pass intended for a Craig player, took two dribbles and hit a bending shot from 25 yards out that easily beat the Craig goalkeeper.
The lead stretched to 2-0 about seven minutes later when Jose Gutierrez beat a Craig defender and in the box beat the goalie one-on-one.
“We controlled the remainder of the game but were unable to get any more on the board,” Beloit head coach Brian Denu said. “The best opportunity came midway through the first half when Craig’s keeper made two amazing saves after an initial shot from Barron and a rebound attempt from Ricardo Ramos was popped over the goal.”
Denu said he was worried about his team coming out flat after a huge victory over Verona, but the energy level was high.
“Eduardo Lopez came in and filled in for Julio Martinez for 10 minutes in the first half and most of the second half and played really well off the bench,” Denu said.
Ivan Perez had four saves in goal for the shutout.
Beloit had already clinched the Beloit-Janesville Traveling Cup for the fourth straight season heading into the game, but again went 4-0 against Craig and Parker (both 1-3).
Beloit is seeded No. 5 heading to regionals while Westosha Central is No. 12. The winner of the game in Beloit plays the winner between No. 4 Fort Atkinson and No. 13 Racine Park on Thursday.
“We thought we deserved a slightly better seed, but know at the end of the day we will have to beat everyone in our regional,” Denu said. “The kids are pumped to be able to play their first game at home and we are hoping to be able to pack the bleachers at the high school.”
• GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: In Walworth, the Big Foot Chiefs defeated Beloit Turner in three sets, 25-11, 25-15, 25-13. Amy Schryver led the Chiefs with 18 kills, while Kat Rotta had another strong game with 33 blocks and three assists. The Trojans were led by Kaitlin Lommis’ nine digs, while Lauren Kleinschmidt had five blocks in the losing effort.
In Janesville, the Beloit Memorial team dropped two matches in a triangular meet. They fell to Delavan-Darien in a tight match 25-21, 25-23 despite give kills by Amara Listenbee and 12 assists from Courtney Schindler.
In the second match, the Knights were defeated 25-18, 25-16 by Janesville Craig. Listenbee again led the team in kills with four, while Schindler added 10 more assists.
In Clinton, the Cougars defeated Parkview in a tight five-set match. The teams traded sets through the first four before Clinton edged the Vikings 15-12 in the final set.
Mallory Niemann was the standout performer for the Cougars with 15 kills, while Kendra Holte had 14 assists. Lauren McIntyre continued her strong season with six aces and eight digs, both team-leading totals.
• CROSS COUNTRY: At the Falcon Invitational in Westosha, the Big Foot runners had strong performances in a field of most larger schools. The girls team finished in third place, led by Libby Brooks’ ninth-place finish. The boys team was fourth, with Fletcher Strahan finishing sixth.
The Clinton boys were led by a 24th-place finish by Cole Peterson.