Block party: Grafton tops Port in soccer

Black Hawks’ star scores only goal for regional title

GRAFTON’S HAILEY BLOCK leaped into the air after scoring a goal against Port Washington in a Division 3 regional final in Grafton last Saturday. Celebrating with Block were Claire Kosidowski (left) and Abbie Schad. Grafton won, 1-0. Photo by Mitch Maersch
Ozaukee Press Staff

After three halves of scoreless soccer in a 12-day stretch between rivals, something was going to have to give last Saturday in Grafton.

Fittingly, it was Grafton High School’s all-time leading scorer, Hailey Block, that changed the complexion of the Division 3 regional final against Port Washington.

In the 48th minute, Marie Weinhold came up the right side and sent a pass to Block in the center of the field in front of the goal.

The right-footed senior turned and popped a left-footed shot to the left side of the goal to break the ice.

“I knew I had to bury it,” Block said, calling Weinhold’s ball a “perfect pass.”

The Hawks instantly went ballistic. Block leaped high into the air as teammates too turns hugging her. Grafton hung on, 1-0, to advance.

The scenes were nothing new for the Hawks — the play or the celebration. It was Block’s 24th goal of the season and something right from the practice field.

“We got real excited that it was one of those things that you see in practice and transfers to the game,” Block said.

Weinhold knew the play well.

“I got a pass from Bella Rapp and we practiced and practiced cutting inside and just laying across, and that’s what I did and she was just in the perfect spot,” Weinhold said. “I was ecstatic. I was just overwhelmed with joy.”

Coach Don Arnold said, “It’s good they recognized that. That’s why we do things at training.”

The score gave the Hawks momentum in a game that hung in the balance for nearly 50 minutes. The Hawks dominated possession but missed on earlier chances, meaning one bounce or exceptional play on

the Pirates’ side could have shifted the advantage.

“The difference in the game was Block’s ability to finish. It was a spectacular goal. I don’t think there is anything we could’ve done differently to prevent it,” Port coach Eric Liebergen said.

Liebergen and Arnold said they knew the game would be tough, especially days after a 0-0 tie.

“We knew with Port it’s a conference rivalry. They were ready to play. It showed in that first game and we knew this game would be no different,” Arnold said.

The Hawks fired away in the first half, but Port senior goalkeeper “Kaytlin (Kassens) had some big saves for us, she was a stud,” Liebergen said.

Kassens made one sliding save and dove and leaped for other balls that sailed just wide or over the goal.

With a lead late in the game, Arnold dropped his center midfielders back a little bit to strengthen the defense.

“Defensively, we were pretty solid all the way around,” Arnold said, crediting the play of Kenzie Schultz, Cora Danielson and Brianna Rapp, who returned from injury after missing two weeks.

The Hawks are already down all-state honorable mention Malaya Sperber and Halena Gehrke, who got hurt during the season. Starting center back Jaden Autey missed the entire year with an injury.

For the Pirates, who finished 12-9-2, it was a hard loss to take, but Liebergen praised the effort.

“I know we had some exhausted girls out there that gave everything they had. Grafton had to work for this win, we weren’t conceding anything. That’s the spirit we strive for and I can live with that,” he said.

Last Thursday, No. 6-seeded Port beat No. 11-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran, 2-0, at home.

Kelly Fischer and Claire Holtebeck each scored unassisted in the second half.

Fischer scored in the 53rd minute with a high ball that the keeper misplayed into the net.

In the 73rd minute, Holtebeck got a loose ball and rifled home the shot, Liebergen said.

The Pirates dominated possession and had many shots.

“I was pleased  with our movement of the ball in this game.  We had some really nice passing patterns working, and communicated well as a team,” Liebergen said.

No. 3-seeded Grafton beat No. 14-seeded St. Anthony, 11-0, at home to open the playoffs.

Weinhold and Claire Kosidowski each had three goals. Laura Stockhausen scored twice. Katie Stockhausen, Isabella Rapp and Zoe Dolberg each had one.

Rapp had two assists and Kate Sewert, Dolberg, Jordan Walton, Hannah Weisberger and Block each had one.

Grafton, 12-2-3, plays at No. 2-seeded New Berlin West at 5 p.m. Thursday. The winner plays on Saturday for a trip to state.







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