Record-setter named best in NSC

Block leads six Grafton players with league honors; Port has five recognized
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

Grafton High School’s scoring machine has added another accolade to a decorated soccer career.

Hailey Block was named Player of the Year in the North Shore Conference this season.

Block scored 27 goals in 19 games playing midfield. She has the school’s all-time program record with 94, shattering the old mark of 75. She also had eight assists.

“She’s got all the tools that make players great, not only the skill and ability but the work ethic, the desire to do well and help her teammates out,” coach Don Arnold said.

“Offensively, any time she’s got possession, she can score goals, she can create goals.”

Block has reached her career marks by being the primary focus of every opponent’s defense.

“She’s not one marked up by one player,” Arnold said.

Block set another program record by being a two-year captain.

“She does everything the right way on the field and off the field,” Arnold said.

 “She’s willing to carry a bag of balls and carry equipment, get the singing going on the bus rides.”

Block was a first-team all-state player who helped lead the Black Hawks to second place in the NSC behind Division 2 state runner-up Whitefish Bay. She was one of two Hawks on the first team.

Senior Abbie Schad was selected as a defender. She quickly moved from center midfield to an attacking center back after second-team all-conference Jaden Autey went down in the first game of the season.

She was later moved back up to help spark the offense.

“Abbie was more of an attacking central defender. She has a strong shot and is a good defender,” Arnold said.

Schad had four goals and two assists. She plans to play Division 1 college soccer at Indiana University-Purdue University  Indianapolis.

Forward Malaya Sperber tore her ACL midway through the season but still made the second team, one year after making the first team and earning all-state honorable mention. She had seven goals and three assists.

“At any moment, she is able to change the game offensively out on top. She’s got a lot of grit and is a fearless young player. Defenders definitely did not like to see Malaya coming at them,” Arnold said.

The Hawks had three honorable mentions.

Defender Kenzie Schultz filled in at center back when Autey went down. She had three assists.

“She kept things organized. She was very solid for us back there,” Arnold said.

Defender Brianna Rapp could play midfield, outside or center back.

“She’s just one of those hard-nosed defenders, smart on the ball and has some great dribbling skills. We could rely on her to mark players up,” Arnold said.

Rapp had one goal and five assists.

Goalkeeper Corbin Woessner helped preserve nine shutouts.

“I think her improvement every year from her freshman year to her senior year has been tremendous. Her footwork was fantastic and I think her teammates had a lot of confidence with her playing behind her,” Arnold said.

For Port Washington, Madison Zwicker bounced back from an ACL injury last season to make the second team.

The senior co-captain had four goals and five assists, but coach Eric Liebergen said “the stats don’t tell the whole story.”

She led the team in practice and on the field during games.

“Madison showed the ability to dictate the tempo in the midfield. She slowed it down and built possession when we were back and played quick strikes to her teammates for counter attacks and breakaways,” Liebergen said. “She had the right balance of patience and intensity.”

Port had four players earn honorable mention recognition.

In goal, senior co-captain Kaytlin Kassens recorded eight shutouts and held powerhouse Grafton to one goal in two games.

“She had a phenomenal season and a really a phenomenal soccer career for us.  We didn’t go deep enough into the playoffs for her to get the credit she deserves, but she is a gamer and always plays big against our toughest opponents,” Liebergen said.

Junior co-captain Claire Holtebeck scored four goals and had three assists, including netting game-winners against Milwaukee King and in the regional playoff game against Wisconsin Lutheran.

She fluctuated between playing midfield and forward.

“Wherever she played, we were stronger because of it. She seemed to improve her shot as the season wore on and took more shots as well,” Liebergen said.

“She is a tireless performer on the field and has a knack for winning her match-ups. She showed a lot of leadership in our halftime breakdowns, and showed confidence in her teammates.”

Sophomore forward Tess Schueller “took over in some games for us and willed her way to get shots and goals,” Liebergen said.

Schueller had a hat trick against Beaver Dam and broke down Kohler and Homestead’s defense to create chances for teammates. She had 10 goals and four assists.

“Tess possesses all of the skills to be a dynamic offensive player her next two years,” Liebergen said.

Sophomore Maddie Wehner played center back and “was really the glue that kept our defense together,” Liebergen said.

“She was involved in many of our free kicks and set pieces because of her ability  to strike a ball so well.”

Wehner scored two goals and had three assists.

Down 2-0 to Oostburg with Port shorthanded over spring break, Wehner scored on a corner kick and had an assist on another corner to tie the game.

The Pirates finished above .500 for the third straight season, advanced to a regional final and were honored nationally for sportsmanship and academics, receiving the Sportsmanship and Ethics Gold Award and Team Academics Award by the United Soccer Coaches.

“I’m proud of this team for how we handled ourselves in the classroom and on the field,” Liebergen said.

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