Perez shines in Shawano’s home soccer win

Shawano tops Xavier after strong 1st half
Morgan Rode
Sports Editor

The Shawano Community High School boys soccer team got a big game out of Julian Perez on its way to a 5-1 Bay Conference win over Xavier on Sept. 20 in Shawano.

Perez played a role in all five of Shawano’s goals, scoring four times and assisting on the other.

“My guys just set me up. I was in the right place at the right time,” said Perez. “I think any three of them (forwards) up top could have been in those positions and scored the same goals. We worked hard in practice, we’ve been practicing this and this really helps us push into the later season.”

Drake Herm netted the other goal for the hosts. Goalie Brandon Reed made eight saves to help Shawano prevail in the battle of the Hawks.

After Reed made a couple early saves, Perez got Shawano on the scoreboard. Shawano worked the ball up the field quickly after a Reed save, and Perez was able to score in the sixth minute.

Shawano continued to control the ball and had several more near misses over the next few minutes before Perez scored again in the 16th minute. Perez scored on a header after Luke Guenther threw the ball in.

“It definitely gives me confidence for these tougher games coming up,” said Perez of his four-goal performance. “Once again, my teammates really set me up, they really took the pressure off of me and put me in good spots the whole game.”

Xavier briefly tightened the match back up with a goal in the 29th minute, but Shawano scored less than a minute later to regain control.

Herm scored the team’s third goal after Perez set him up, again with a header.

Perez capped a big first half with a goal in the 33rd minute, lofting the ball perfectly over the keeper’s head.

In the second half, Xavier had numerous scoring chances, but Reed and Shawano’s defense were able to fend them off.

“Early in the week, our coaches did a good job of making some adjustments and really getting us ready for how they were going to attack,” said Reed. “We ended up switching up our scheme to counter off of that.

“Our defense in the backfield has been great all season. We got guys back there that are just kind of dogs, and they’re really helping us out and making my job easy. And they trust me to do my thing.”

Perez then put the finishing touch on the Shawano victory with his fourth goal in the 55th minute of action.

Both teams had scoring chances down the stretch, but neither were able to score again.

The win bumped Shawano’s overall record to 6-4-2.

“It’s going to give us a lot of confidence heading further into the season,” said Herm. “It’ll give us a confidence booster as we go against tougher opponents, it’ll give us confidence just all the way through.”

“The boys played a great overall game,” said Shawano coach Andrew Brooks. “We played 80 minutes with high energy and marked hard defensively. From top to bottom, we played as a team and trusted each other. This was our first opportunity to get a playoff type feel and we stepped up big.”