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Boats Conquer the Conquerors in Wisconsin Cup

AJ Mittelsteadt was the man on fire in our Wisconsin Cup debut... photo by Christina Gordon

The Boats got back to business in style in their 2024 Wisconsin Cup opener, taking down the Wisconsin Conquerors 4-2. This was an exciting one from start to finish, with early goals, late tallies, and plenty of good play throughout. 

The action kicked off just two minutes into the match, when Liam Junker put the hosts ahead right from the jump. The Conquerors weren’t fazed by the early deficit, though, equalizing within 10 minutes and canceling out the early advantage. From there, Eau Claire’s finest UPSL side took over, and they didn’t look back.

Bateaux FC's Liam Junker puts the hosts up 1-0 early in the match... photo by Christina Gordon
Liam Junker celebrates his early goal... photo by Christina Gordon

A long throw from Jake Sampson in the 24th minute put the ball into a dangerous area, pinging around the box before finding the feet of AJ Mittelsteadt for the easy tap-in for the go-ahead goal. The throw-in itself resulted from a well-played free kick over the top, allowing Bateaux to get down the field and relieve the quick bout of pressure they were facing. 

The first half played out relatively uneventfully after the hosts went up, though there were some half-chances and hopeful looks strewn throughout. Sampson’s long throw reared its head again a few more times, but it didn’t lead to any more real danger. Rest assured; the excitement did not stop there. 

The Boats came out of the break rowing, as Mittelsteadt made it a brace just eight minutes into the second 45. A lovely long ball from Kyle Bushendorf put the striker in on goal at the top of the box, and a quick, clean strike doubled the advantage in style. With a two-goal cushion at home, it was beginning to look like it would be a lazy river ride to victory for your Boats. 

The lads celebrate AJ Mittelsteadt's incredible second half goal... photo by Christina Gordon

But Mittelsteadt wasn’t satisfied with a brace, and, honestly, with so much time left, who could blame him? You gotta strike while the iron’s hot, and you never take your foot off the gas in the Wisconsin Cup. That would be ridiculous.

Just four minutes past the hour mark, that man struck once again. The relentless press of Bateaux FC paid dividends this time, forcing a wayward back pass into the path of the onrushing Mittelsteadt, who dispatched his third goal of the night calmly to seal the victory and earn him a free hat. Seriously, someone get this guy a hat; it’s the least we could do. 

A last-minute goal for the visitors ended the night on a slightly sour note, but ultimately served as nothing more than a consolation and a bit of a pick-me-up for the Conquerors. It was a nice goal, though, well-worked and showing a lot of spirit from a team that refused to give up until the final whistle. Good on you, lads.


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