Grafton’s nemesis stops run to state

But Catholic Memorial couldn’t keep down star goal scorer Hailey Block

GRAFTON’S Claire Kosidowski (18) helped the Black Hawks’ soccer team to a 13-3-3 record this season. Photos by Mitch Maersch
Ozaukee Press staff

The Grafton High School girls’ soccer team ran into a common playoff opponent last Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Black Hawks, it was an all too-common result.

No. 1-seeded Catholic Memorial won, 2-1 in a Division 3 sectional final at home, beating No. 2-seeded Grafton for the second time this season.

This time, the Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

In the 38th minute, a Knight split two Hawk defenders and passed to a forward who got a touch on it from about 13 yards out. The ball ended in the back post.

In the 74th minute, a Knight hit a left-footed shot to the back of the net on a free kick from 20 yards out.

“There was nothing that the keeper could have done. You just tip your hat and keep playing,” coach Don Arnold said.

But the Knights couldn’t keep scoring star Hailey Block down for an entire game.

In the 88th minute, Brianna Rapp got through the defense and laid a ball to Block on the top of the box. Block promptly “took a touch in and ripped one over the keeper’s head,” Arnold said.

“That gave us a glimmer of hope,” Arnold said. “It was good to see the girls didn’t stop fighting.”

They nearly tied the game at the buzzer. With 30 seconds left, the Hawks put a corner kick into the box, but it didn’t deflect into the net.

The Knights survived and advanced to state.

The Hawks’ seasons have ended with losses to the Knights in six of the last seven years. The Knights have won five state championships in that time — Notre Dame beat them in the final last season — with this year’s results yet to be determined.

This season, the Hawks could be wondering what could have been. All-state honorable mention forward Malaya Sperber got injured midway through the season, as did multiple-position player Halena Gehrke. Center back starter Jaden Autey missed the entire year due to injury.

The Hawks were forced to lean even more on Block, a first-team all-state player headed to Southeast Missouri State on a soccer scholarship. She scored 25 goals this season and 94 in her illustrious high school career.

“You can put one or two players on her. She’s going to find her opportunities,” Arnold said.

The Hawks and Knights met in tournament on April 6, when Memorial prevailed, 3-1. Grafton wasn’t at full strength then either. It was prom and a few girls left early to get ready for the dance.

Arnold said the game showed how the Knights played, but it was difficult to get a good read since his team was missing players.

The Hawks finished the season 13-3-3 and took second in the North Shore Conference at 6-1-2. Powerhouse and 2017 Division 2 state champion Whitefish Bay won the NSC with a 9-0 record.

The Hawks’ three losses have come to the Knights (twice) and Whitefish Bay.

“When you look at the results that we’ve had with the adversity we’ve had, it’s very impressive,” Arnold said.

The Hawks aren’t asking for gerrymandering of the sectional lines, but if they were placed somewhere else, they could have met the Knights with more on the line.

“That would be a great state final right there. That game was fantastic. I think everybody walked away from it realizing it was a good game,” Arnold said.

The Knights (23-4-1) play Ashland (20-2-2) in a state semifinal on Thursday.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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