- Cunningham Intermediate
BMHS Boys Soccer Team Upsets 2nd Seeded Madison Memorial. We're Off to Sectionals!
Beloit Memorial head soccer coach Brian Dement called his team's 4-3 sudden death victory over Madison Memorial in Saturday’s WIAA regional championship game at Madison College “a wild, wild game.”
He had plenty of reasons.
How about a Purple Knight, Diego Gama, known more for his stingy defense scoring a key goal? Or the fact the team’s leading scorer, Baylor Denu, ended up as goaltender in overtime?
With the exciting win, the Knights now travel to Verona on Thursday to play the Wildcats in a sectional semifinal. Game time has yet to be announced.
Saturday, the Spartans controlled the ball for the first 20 minutes of the contest, but goalie Beckham Denu easily saved a few pedestrian shots. In the second 20 minutes, the Knights ramped up the pace of the game, but also came up empty and it was 0-0 at halftime.
“We knew that if we didn’t score in the next 6 minutes that we needed to make some changers to our formation and we did with 10 minutes to go,” Denu said. “We moved sophomore Diego Gama to the forward spot and played with three defenders in the back.”
Two minutes later, Baylor Denu played a ball over the top to Diego who was between the Spartan defender and goalkeeper. Diego got the ball first and headed it over the goalkeeper to tie the game.
“We went back to our original formation and were able to bleed the clock a bit and get to overtime,” Denu said.
In the OT (two 10-minute periods), Beloit struck early. A corner kick bounced around the box before finding Baylor Denu, who buried the shot for his 24th goal of the season. Beloit held Memorial to zero shots in the first OT and began the second OT with a few shots. Memorial held the Knights off and had multiple opportunities of its own. The Spartans finally tied it with a little over 3 minutes left. Beckham made a save on a late attempt and the game headed to a shootout.
“The first thing Baylor said to me while walking off the field was that he wanted to be in goal for the penalty shootout,” Coach Denu said. “Beckham had played a great game up until that point, but Baylor is a bit longer and a bit more able to extend in a situation like a shootout. This is something that we talked about doing last year if we needed to, but hadn’t really discussed it before then. It was definitely the correct decision to make.”
Beckham Denu’s shot was saved and the Madison Memorial shooter played a shot just past the reach of Baylor Denu to send the shootout into sudden death.
Marcos Giles then converted his penalty kick before Baylor Denu made an outstanding diving save to propel Beloit to the regional title.
“So many emotions in this one,” Coach Denu said. “It was a great high school game to be a part of. The players left it all on the field, the fans were raucous on both sides and the overall atmosphere was something else. Diego has had a great season but defenders don't usually get a ton of notoriety and him scoring that goal was an absolute season saver. Beckham made a few saves when it was 0-0 that I am still scratching my head wondering how he did that. Baylor was able to play through being harassed by a man marking him all game to come up big with a goal and an assist down the stretch.”
“Tomas Giles stepped in off the bench and played huge minutes for us tonight. I can't say enough about this team and their gutty performances this year. It's a pleasure to be able to coach them and I am so happy to get another week with them.”
The Spartans outshot the Knights 17-13 and had 13 corner kicks to Beloit’s five. Beckham Denu finished with eight saves and his brother Baylor had two.