Chaska played its best 40 minutes of soccer Oct. 8, playing top-10 Minnetonka to a scoreless game.
To Hawks junior Josh Wackerfuss, Chaska was the better team.
Even after Niko Scheibal put Minnetonka ahead, a header goal in the box, Chaska was just inches from tying the game on a shot that hit the crossbar and went straight down.
Chaska head coach Michael O'Reilly convinced with how the netting shook the ball was in.
"At the beginning of the season, our only defender back was Kyler (Kemis) and we got new people back there. Cameron (Walle), Chris (Campos), Angel (Estrada), they were really new to varsity, and I think late in the season they began to really click. Our defense game us a chance to win late in the season," Wackerfuss said.
Minnetonka, though, battle tested, its lone two losses coming in one-goal defeats to top-ranked Edina, prevailed, a 4-0 decision.
The Skippers got three goals over the final 7:30 of the game.
"The scoreboard didn't reflect the end result. After they got that first goal we pushed up and they were able to flood through, score a few more goals. I thought we outplayed them in the first half, one of our best halves of the season. We defended as a team, not as individuals," Wackerfuss said.
Schiebal, described as "the best player in the state in the box" by Minnetonka head coach Mike Rogers, continued his dominance upfront since the move following a broken nose.
Schiebal elevated over the Chaska defense for the eventual winning goal before adding a breakaway tally in the closing minutes.
Pedro Ce, a late-season addition to the varsity roster, also scored twice, including a poor-angle shot for an insurance goal at 2-0.
"We played Minnetonka the first game of the season and I don't think we played too good," Wackerfuss said of the 3-0 opener defeat. "I think the growth of our team, it was really good, and it showed tonight."
Chaska has 15 players back on varsity next season including top scorers Ethan Ducklow and Danny Zewou as well as goaltender Carson Youngman and Wackerfuss in the midfield.
The experience received in the 4-10-1 season should pay dividends in 2020.
"I think next year we're going to shock some people. We had a huge senior class last year and this year we played with a lot of juniors, a lot of guys that will be back as seniors. I feel like we're going to have a great year next year," Wackerfuss said.
Minnetonka is at fellow top-10 Shakopee on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 4:30 p.m. at Shakopee West Junior High.