Men’s Soccer continues hot streak with late goal

Ross Guyette, Assistant Sports Editor

The gears are starting to turn for Warhawk athletics, and the regular season kicks off this week for most fall sports.  The excitement and speculation go hand in hand as expectations are high, especially considering last season’s success. Coach Tony Guinn’s team ended last season on a 6-game winning run. No team has more on the line then, as men’s soccer aims to keep their streak alive.

Previously, the Warhawks faced Westminster College on the road, subsequently dismantling them by a score of 4-0. Heading into that matchup in Lake Geneva, the Warhawks faced first-game nerves, but put on a composed performance.

Riding that momentum the day after, Alma College came to Whitewater with plans to stop the Warhawks. However, those plans had to wait. The Warhawks stayed strong and maintained composure, producing a physical brand of soccer that sent Alma reeling. Brad Ludwig, Kevin Mesich and Jackson Ranck all got on the score sheet, and Whitewater was victorious by a score of 3-0.

Alma’s new coach John Grier, said, “With it being non-conference, the focus is our team, and we know that Whitewater is a good team that will expose things. We made three big mistakes in the first half and a quality team like that will finish it off. They finish well.”

Goalscorers Ludwig, Mesich and Ranck were the beneficiaries of those mistakes, and they were quick and ruthless.

Senior defender Trevor Johnson said, “We got a lot of speed upfront, and we trust them. We wear teams down with our well-rounded play and deep team.”

The Warhawks went into their match with Illinois Institute of Technology riding a hot streak, and capitalized with an early goal from Senior forward Hozai Ceballos in the 10th minute. In the 25’ there was a scramble in front of UWW’s goal, which ended with an IIT goal that tied the score.

The game went into halftime at 1-1, and stayed that way for most of the second half. As the clock ticked upward, it looked like Whitewater might lose their winning streak.

Sophomore mid Andres Villarreal said “We use (the streak) as motivation. We want to see if we can make history. Only motivates us to work together and do great things.”

It was fitting then, what Villarreal did when the clock got to the 81st minute.

“We got a throw-in and ‘Osa’ (Hozai Ceballos), who can throw the ball far, he threw it in and I got my head on it and hit it to the back post. It was all a team effort.”

The crowd went wild after Villarreal’s goal, which put the Warhawks in the lead for good.

Ceballos, who was credited with the assist, said, “The second one came late in the game. It was a hard-fought game, and it was about staying in 90-minute games and staying relaxed. We got that second goal to put us up.

The Warhawks escaped with their third win of the season, extending their streak to nine games won in a row.

“It’s definitely a motivational thing.” said Guinn. “Who doesn’t want to make history? If we can go down in the history books at UW-Whitewater, that’s kind of a special thing that no one can take away from you.”

The Warhawks aim to continue their ruthless start to the season with five games in the next seven day.

Ceballos, a veteran of the team, said, “The key for us is we have so much depth on our bench. It’s about staying healthy and being ready to come in. We’re all good enough to play, you just have to perform when you’re on (the field). We’re healthy, which is a blessing. We can all compete, it’s a matter of staying healthy outside of practice and games.”