SHORELINE — It’s been a long time coming, but the Monroe High School boys soccer team is finally heading back to state.
Josh Gunter and Reid Schaeffer scored goals, and the Bearcats were nearly flawless defensively as they defeated the Shorewood Stormrays 2-0 in a winner-to-state, loser-out District 1 3A game Saturday afternoon at Shoreline Stadium.
With the victory the third-seeded Bearcats (15-3-1) advanced to state for the first time since 2002.
“It feels amazing,” Gunter said. “It feels like the whole entire program has changed. These last couple years have been hard, but we got through the COVID season and now we’re here.
“I thought we defended well and our counterattacks were super good,” Gunter added. “We finished our two chances and that was the game.”
Fifth-seeded Shorewood ended its season 13-6-1.
Scoring chances were few and far between in the first half, with the best one coming in the 17th minute when Shorewood’s Brady Hodgen headed a free kick onto the crossbar.
But late in the half Monroe nabbed the lead. A Shorewood clearance was blocked by the Bearcats, with the ball looping over the defense. Gunter ran onto it and rolled the ball into the left corner to give Monroe a 1-0 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the half.
Chances were again at a premium in the second half until Schaffer iced the game in the 75th minute. Schaeffer headed the ball to himself over the defense, drove toward goal, then powered a shot past Shorewood goalkeeper Bryan Borth to secure Monroe’s spot at state.