It isn't often that a team other than Madison West, Madison Memorial or Middleton wins the Big Eight Conference boys soccer title.
In the past 26 years, it's happened only twice: Madison East shared the 1991 championship with West and Memorial, while Madison La Follette claimed the 2010 title outright. On Thursday night, Sun Prairie added its name to the short list.
Abdoulie Bah scored the opener and added an assist as the Cardinals thumped host La Follette 5-1 in a Big Eight finale. Sun Prairie (7-2-0 Big Eight) finished with 21 points in league play, but needed help to claim its first conference championship.
That assistance came from Madison East. Conor Schlichting posted a shutout and freshman Josh Cervantes scored in the 69th minute as the Purgolders blanked host Middleton 1-0 – the Cardinals went into the night atop the standings, but ended up tied for third with Beloit Memorial (6-2-1) on 19 points.
Madison West (6-1-2) ended up second with 20 points and East (6-3-0) was fifth with 18 as the top five sides all finished within three points of one another in the extremely competitive Big Eight race.
Related: Prep boys history
- Senior Ian Murphy had a goal and an assist, and Oregon didn't allow a shot on goal as it topped Madison Edgewood 4-0 on Thursday night at Reddan Soccer Park in Verona to extend its Southern Badger Conference unbeaten streak to 50 games. The Panthers have won or shared the past eight Southern Badger titles and are 48-0-2 in league play since a 3-2 double-overtime loss to visiting Edgewood on back on Sept. 23, 2008.
- For the third consecutive season, Mount Horeb and Sauk Prairie shared the Northern Badger Conference title – both finished 4-0-1. It's the seventh straight year the Vikings have won or shared the title; they are are unbeaten in their past 22 league games (18-0-4) since a 3-2 loss to Waunakee on Sept. 11, 2012.
- Milwaukee Marquette remained fifth in this week's Top Drawer Soccer Fab 50 and second in the website's Great Lakes Region rankings, which also include Brookfield Central at No. 12. Those teams met Tuesday night in a Greater Metro Conference finale that finished 3-3; the Hilltoppers, who already had clinched their sixth consecutive league title, hadn't allowed any goals against state competition and had yielded just seven goals with 11 clean sheets in their opening 16 games overall.
- Marquette slipped one place to No. 13 in this week's USA Today/National Soccer Coaches Association of America Super 25, while Green Bay Preble also received votes. The Hilltoppers maintained their spot at No. 2 in the Region VI rankings, which include Preble at No. 5, Middleton at No. 7 and Whitefish Bay at No. 9.
- Two defending state champions who are ranked first in their respective divisions in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association state poll square off in a regular-season finale Saturday, as Division 2 Whitefish Bay (16-2-0) plays host to Division 1 Marquette (14-1-2) at 3 p.m. at Lubar Stadium.
- The Hilltoppers are unbeaten in their past 39 games against Wisconsin teams over the past three years, compiling a 36-0-3 record against state foes since a 1-0 loss to Muskego in a WIAA sectional semifinal on Oct. 24, 2013. The Marquette program, the most successful in state prep soccer history, is 748-99-57 in 40 seasons overall.
- The 35th WIAA tournament kicks off Tuesday with regional quarterfinals, followed by regional semifinals Thursday and regional finals Oct. 22. Sectionals are Oct. 27 and 29, with state semifinals and finals Nov. 3 to 5 in Milwaukee. Seeding meetings started Wednesday, and brackets for all four divisions will be released Sunday.