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Zaleski Sports

ARCADIA – Marshfield Columbus Catholic will be playing for its first state tournament berth in 13 years on Saturday after posting a thrilling shootout victory over Arcadia in a WIAA Division 4 boys soccer sectional semifinal Thursday afternoon.

Tom Nystrom drilled home a penalty kick in the shootout to cap off the win after the teams played to a 3-3 tie through 90 minutes of regulation and two 10-minute overtime periods.

Both teams hit on its first four kicks in the shootout as Zach Olson, Kellen Delaney, Grant Olson and Dylan Porter scored for the Dons. After Arcadia missed, Nystrom knocked in the game-winner.

Columbus (16-1-4) moves on to a Division 4 sectional final against Northland Pines (13-3-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Washington Elementary School in Wisconsin Rapids. The winner qualifies for the 2019 WIAA State Boys Soccer Tournament in Milwaukee on Nov. 7-9. The Dons have only one WIAA state tournament appearance, that coming in 2006.

The matchup with Arcadia, which handed the Dons their only loss of the season back in mid-September, was the fourth year in a row Columbus Catholic met the Raiders in the sectional semifinals. Arcadia beat the Dons in a shootout last year, and now Columbus has returned the favor.

“We were down 3-1 and showed the mental fortitude to come back 15 mins later and tie it,” Columbus Catholic coach Jeff Edwards said. “Overtime was a battle of wills. The shootout was just incredible.”

Tyler Linzmeier scored at the 7:36 mark to give the Dons a quick 1-0 lead, before Arcadia surged to what seemed like a commanding lead.

Arcadia tied the game in the 39th minute and the tie score held until 17:17 into the second half when the Raiders pulled ahead. Arcadia added another goal 7 minutes later.

With their season on the line, the Dons beared down.

Delaney scored off an assist by Nystrom at the 70:47 mark and Zach Olson tied it 1½ minutes later.

Neither team scored for the final 17:34 of regulation, or in 20 minutes of overtime play, sending the sectional semifinal to penalty kicks for the second year in a row.

“Their shooters were perfect until their fifth,” Edwards said. “Our shooters, Zach, Kellen, Grant, Dylan, and Tom, absolutely drilled their kicks, either putting them side netting or psyching the keeper out and making him dive the wrong way. We practice these all the time and try to simulate the pressure. I’m so proud of the fight and resilience we showed to come away with the win.”

Wyatt Drexler had 11 saves in goal for the Dons.

Dons 3, Raiders 3 (2 OT) Columbus Catholic 1 2 0 0 – 3 Arcadia 1 2 0 0 – 3 (Note: Arcadia scorers not reported) First half: 1. CC, Tyler Linzmeier (Kellen Delaney), 7:36; 2. Arcadia, 38:44. Second half: 3. Arcadia, 62:17; 4. Arcadia, 69:10; 5. CC, K. Delaney (Tom Nystrom), 70:47; 6. CC, Zach Olson, 72:26. Shootout: Columbus Catholic – Z. Olson/Y; K. Delaney/Y; Grant Olson/Y; Dylan Porter/Y; Nystrom/Y. Arcadia – Y/Y/Y/Y/N. Records: Columbus Catholic 16-1-4; Arcadia 13-2-4.

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