Nail-biting loss leaves Hawks just shy of state

Perenial playoff nemesis Catholic Memorial edges Grafton girls’ soccer team in 1-0 sectional title battle
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Save for a free kick that got headed into the net, Grafton girls’ soccer coach Don Arnold said he should be talking about a WIAA sectional final victory and a trip to this week’s Division 3 state tournament.

But No. 1-seeded Catholic Memorial found a way to end the season for No. 2-seeded Grafton for the fifth time in the past six seasons last Saturday in Waukesha.

“We were right there. It was not that they played any better than us by no means,” Arnold said.

“I think we were expecting to win that game.”

The host Knights scored on a free kick in the 72nd minute. After a foul, the ball got served into the box and a Catholic Memorial player put a head on it for the score.

“We were pushing, pushing, pushing, trying to get that goal,” Arnold said.

“Our play was fantastic.”

The Black Hawks were without starting defender Mackenzie Schultz due to illness, and Ava Pederson got the nod as her replacement 10 minutes before gametime.

“She went in and played a phenomenal 90 minutes,” Arnold said.

“That’s been one of our strengths all year. When somebody is out, somebody else steps up.”

Arnold credited the play of goalkeeper Corbin Woessner, who made six saves, along with defenders Jaden Autey, Cora Danielson and Pederson.

“Our defense did not bend at all in terms of the forwards getting any breakaways or getting any clean shots,” Arnold said.

Offensively, the Hawks created a few opportunities. Arnold praised Malaya Sperber, Hailey Block, Laura Stockhausen and Gretchen Geiser for their efforts.

Geiser got around the outside a few times and served in several balls “we weren’t able to get ahold of,” Arnold said.

Block had a couple of one-on-one chances with the Knights’ goalkeeper, who got just enough of a hand on the ball to prevent scores.

“The girls who played left everything on that field,” Arnold said.

The Hawks, which didn’t play at home all year due to their field being reseeded, finished the season 13-6. They placed second in the North Shore Conference at 8-1, trailing only champion Whitefish Bay (9-0).

The season, Arnold said, was “fabulous.”

His players “had a fantastic year, they worked hard and did things the right way on the field and off the field,” he said.

“You’d like to keep going just because they were so enjoyable to be around. We can’t wait to get them back out there again next year.”

Grafton 4, Shorewood 2

With the game knotted at 1-1 at intermission, the Hawks turned up the dial on the offense early in the second half and cruised to a sectional semifinal win at Milwaukee School of Engineering on June 7.

Grafton scored three goals in less than nine minutes to take control.

In the 65th minute, Pederson scored on an assist from Geiser. Three minutes later, Block scored unassisted. Five minutes after that, Sperber found the net with an assist from Block.

“They sort of came at us, and the second half we took over,” Arnold said.

“I think once we settled in and got that go-ahead goal, it opened up a little bit.”

The Hawks hadn’t played No. 3-seeded Shorewood this season. The Greyhounds finished 12-5-2.

“We knew they had a couple of nice forwards. Their central midfield was pretty tough,” Arnold said.

The Hawks’ defense denied Shorewood opportunities to score until a late goal capped the offensive highlights.

Brianna Rapp gave the Hawks the lead unassisted barely two minutes into the game, but Shorewood tied the score at 1-1 in the 43rd minute.

Whether tied or trailing at half, the Hawks, Arnold said, had the right mentality this season.

“They just keep plugging along. They’ve got a lot of confidence in themselves,” he said.

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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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