Ben Gamino dribbles away from Kiel's Eric Riebe (8). Gamino's goal with just over four minutes left proved to be the game winner in St. Lawrence Seminary's 1-0 WIAA Sectional Semifinal win over Kiel

Kiel was on the verge of its first trip to a sectional final. But St. Lawrence Seminary had other ides.

The Raiders controlled play for much of the second half, however getting the ball past SLS goalie Max Gamino proved to be too much of a task and Ben Gamino’s goal with just over four minutes remaining lifted St. Lawrence to a dramatic 1-0 win in a WIAA Division 3 Boys Soccer Sectional Semifinal Thursday afternoon at Fifrick Field.

The victory sends the Hilltoppers to its first sectional championship since 2016. They will take on Menasha St. Mary Catholic on Saturday at 4 pm at Kiel’s Fifrick Field with a trip to state on the line. SLS is looking for its first ever trip to state.

Ben Gamino took a feed from Yair Rivera near the 18 yard box, dribbled past a pair of Kiel defenders and sailed a shot just past Raider goalie Isaac Vander Meer for the games’ only goal.

“What a game!” says SLS coach Dave Bartel.

“A great game to win and a tough one to lose. Both teams gave what they had and made the other work for everything. Kiel did a nice job of slowing us down and making us play with control. We were able to keep the ball in their end of the field, but were not able to get many clean shots. Ben made a terrific move at the end along the end line for the game winner. He has had a few of those shots this year.

Defensively, we continue to play strong and are not giving up clean shots or breakaways. That allows us to continually put pressure on the other team. We talked about being patient and staying with our plan, which our guys did, but Kiel had a tough defense that was hard to crack.”

Kiel comes close

Everett Saeger had a pair of his shots early in the second half for Kiel end up in the diving arms of Hilltopper goalie Max Gamino, who recorded his second straight shut out in post season play.

“We will get over this in a day or two, but right now it really stings because we lost in the closing minutes,” states Kiel coach Dustin Goebel.

“We’re a young team, but we still lose four seniors, two of which were four-year starters.”

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