Rocketing into school history

CG-Belgium girls stun top-ranked Oostburg to earn their first trip to WIAA state soccer tournament

FOCUSED PERFORMANCES carried the Cedar Grove-Belgium girls’ soccer team to a pair of WIAA Division 4 sectional wins last week and a first-time berth in the state tournament. The Rockets opened sectional play with a 4-1 victory over Winnebago Lutheran Academy, then scored a 1-0 upset win over previously undefeated Oostburg in the title game. Brittany Teunissen (14) got ready to set up an attack while teammate Kelsey Lukens looked on.
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The Cedar Grove-Belgium girls’ soccer team made school history last Saturday, and the Rockets did it by beating their biggest rival.

The No. 2-seeded Rockets knocked off previously unbeaten and top-ranked Oostburg, 1-0, in a WIAA Division 4 sectional final at New Holstein.

The victory qualified them for state for the first time ever. When the team returned home, fire trucks rode through Cedar Grove to celebrate.

As the final seconds of the title game ticked down, the Rockets and their fans couldn’t contain themselves.

“I think I was just in shock. We did it,” said senior co-captain Brittany Teunissen, who never defeated an Oostburg team in any sport in high school until now.

“All the hard work you put in all season. This is it. It paid off. It was amazing to be in that moment. It’s unreal.”

Sophomore player Abby Kraus was equally amazed.

“It didn’t feel real. It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s so cool to be part of this for our school and our community, our team.”

“I think we all went into shock,” said sophomore player Kelsey Lukens.

Added freshman goalkeeper Brooke Braga: “It was the best feeling in the world when we know we finally beat them. We tried so hard. It just felt amazing.”

For senior co-captain Jessica Rose, it was a sweet moment, but she empathized with the Lady Dutch.

“It was super exciting to beat them because we’ve never done it before and it was new, but it was also super sad because they’re our friends too,” Rose said.

“It’s a rivalry, but it’s a friendly rivalry.”

Lukens scored the game’s only goal in the first half.

When Haven Minick launched the ball into the box, an Oostburg player headed it back to her goalkeeper Skylar Ternes, who fought for the ball with Kraus.

“I was on the top of the 18, and Abby passed it back to me,” Lukens said. “All my other teammates let me know how long I had with the ball, and I just shot it.”

Oostburg’s goalie wasn’t in position to make a play since Kraus drew her out. The ball sailed to the back of the net at the far post.

It was the only score between the two teams in 180 minutes of soccer this season, including Big East Conference play. Rocket nation exploded.

“I was screaming so loud, I was so happy for Kelsey for putting that in,” Rose said.

But the Rockets knew what was coming.

From  there, the pace only seemed to intensify,” Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Elias Garza said.

“We addressed tactics (at halftime) and reminded the ladies about the ‘composed urgency’ theme we stressed many times during the course of the season.

This moment, in the game could have not been more appropriate time to rise to the occasion together as a team, knowing that Oostburg would again be relentless in the second half.”

After them the Lady Dutch came.

Rose kept pressuring the Oostburg defense on top, and Kraus dropped back later in the game to help on defense.

The Rockets (15-1-1) held the Lady Dutch (19-1-1) to a goose egg for the second straight game after Oostburg outscored its first three playoff opponents by a combined 27-0.

“To hold Oostburg scoreless for 90 again, like we had earlier in the season, seemed like a unlikely scenario considering the offensive firepower at Oostburg’s disposal,” Garza said.

Braga, who Garza called a “monster in goal,” made 20 saves, including three during one-on-one battles.

“I’m used to pressure, but it was a lot of pressure,” Braga said. “I just played my best.

“I literally just tried my best and dealt with whatever came at me. I could have not done it without my defense. They’re amazing.”

The scoreboard was nearly lit up much more. One Rocket shot hit the crossbar in the first half, and the Lady Dutch hit a post in the second.

Garza described the entire game as a “frenzied and furious heavyweight bout.”

The reward was just for a team that deserved it, he said. The Rockets only had two senior starters coming into this season and took on the mantra of “shock the world.”

“The girls endured the most competitive and challenging culture this program has had. These girls are to be commended for their willingness to accept the challenge of having such a competitive environment,” he said.

“This ride, this journey was a result of committed, dedicated student athletes that know that everyone has a role and each role was equally important in making this a special season.”

The Rockets put the only two blemishes on an otherwise perfect season for Oostburg. Besides the one loss, the Rockets gave the Lady Dutch their only tie, 0-0, during the regular season.

Rockets earn top seed at state

At the state level, Cedar Grove-Belgium enters the final four as the top seed and will play Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld Co-op in an 11 a.m. semifinal Friday at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

The Vanguards (12-4) finished third in the South Division of the Capitol Conference. They defeated Lake Country Lutheran/University Lake, 1-0, in the Lomira Sectional final to advance to state.

“It’s not going to get any easier from here on out. I think we’re ready, and we’re going to take that desire,” Teunissen said.

“We want it. We want it so bad,” Rose said.

A Rockets fan bus is leaving from the high school to the game. For more information, visit the school district’s website at www.cedargrovebelgium.k12.wi.us.

This is the second time a Cedar Grove-Belgium soccer team has reached the state level. The boys qualified in 2006.

CG-Belgium cruises in sectional opener

The Rockets advanced to the sectional title with an easy home win over third-seeded Winnebago Lutheran Academy in a sectional semifinal June 7.

Minick found Kraus for a goal just before halftime to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead. It was Kraus’ second goal after scoring from Lukens in the 20th minute.

The Vikings answered four minutes later.

“We made a slight defensive adjustment at half to better contest any opportunities that WLA could try to exploit as we prepared for the second half,” Garza said.

“Our pressure in all areas of the pitch would prove beneficial as our collective team defense would eliminate any threat of scoring for WLA moving forward.”

In the 62nd minute, Lanser scored her first of two goals in a six-minute stretch with an assist from Rose. Alyssa Mentink later assisted Haven for the fourth Rocket score.

The Rockets outshot the Vikings, 31-4. Braga made three saves.

WLA finished the season 13-2-3.

“It was a great atmosphere playing in front of a large, vocal home crowd,” Garza said.

“I do not recall ever having those types of numbers at Cedar Grove-Belgium for a high school girls’ soccer game.”

 

 

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