Tough weather, opponents relegate Port soccer team to 4th place at season-opening Early Bird Invitational
Heat, inexperience and tough opposition combined to take a toll on the Port Washington boys’ soccer team in a season-opening tournament last weekend.
After scoring a shutout win in their opening game of the Early Bird Invitational in Mukwonago on Friday, the Pirates were handed a pair of losses Saturday.
They capped the road trip with a 2-1 loss to Wisconsin Rapids in the third-place final of the eight-team tournament.
“We’re still looking at a lot of positions and who’s going to play where,” Port coach Mike Bultman said. “We have a young team, and our inexperience showed.
“We played pretty well, but I think the heat and the numbers got to us by the last game.”
A senior-led Rapids team scored two goals on counterattacks to build a 2-0 lead by halftime.
Alex Bello, a junior forward, got the Pirates on the board with a second-period goal.
“We were pretty beat by the end of the game,” Bultman said. “Rapids has 12 seniors, and I have nine sophomores, so they had an edge on us experience-wise, too.”
Port opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Burlington in a weather-shortened quarterfinal game.
David Cornell put the Pirates up for good in the 20th minute when he scored on a corner kick that curved to the near post and eluded the keeper.
Ten minutes into the second period, Marcus Lackovic doubled the lead with a 35-foot blast that deflected off the crossbar and the keeper before reaching the net.
The match was scheduled to last 60 minutes but was called with five minutes left due to stormy conditions.
“We pretty much outplayed Burlington throughout the game,” Bultman said. “It was a good way to start the tournament.”
In Saturday’s semifinals, the Pirates ran into a talented Madison East squad that saddled them with a 3-0 loss. The Purgolders pulled away from a scoreless first half to win easily and went on
to take the tournament title.
“East has an older group with a lot of seniors and took advantage of our inexperience,” Bultman said. “They got two goals coming down the outside in a five or six-minute period when we were caught out of position.”
When the Pirates pressed forward to get back in the game, East countered and drew a foul. A long free kick led to a goal on a follow-up shot that capped the scoring.
This week, Port opened its North Shore Conference schedule Tuesday against Germantown. The Pirates will continue NSC play Aug. 31 with a 7 p.m. home game against Nicolet.
Bultman said he will continue to shuffle players in an effort to find the strongest lineup. That challenge may have been eased with the addition of a transfer player from England.
Shaun Watson, a junior forward who moved to the United States and played on a Mequon club team this spring, joined the Pirates last week and could soon be in the starting lineup, Bultman said.
“I think he has the skills to help us,” he said.
Catholic Memorial 2, Grafton 1
The Black Hawks grabbed an early lead but faded in the second half of a nonconference season opener in Waukesha on Aug. 18.
Wolfgang Pilarski, a sophomore midfielder, put Grafton ahead with a goal in the 17th minute. He scored off a pass from Jacob Kellett on a counterattack.
“Wolfgang made a great run and got a nice feed for the score,” Grafton coach Don Arnold said. “It was a good start for us.”
In the second period, though, Catholic Memorial cashed in on defensive breakdowns by the Hawks and found the net twice. A goal by Ryan Allen in the 66th minute tied the game, and Mark
Samuel provided the winner at 73:19.
“We had some lapses that led to both of their goals,” Arnold said. “That’s going to happen at this point of the season when we’re trying to work on a new defensive system.
“It’s a learning experience for our guys.”
This week, the Hawks opened North Shore Conference play Tuesday against Homestead. They were scheduled to play a 7 p.m. nonconference game Wednesday at Slinger and will participate in a four-team tournament at Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Grafton will then resume NSC play by hosting Cedarburg at 7 p.m. Aug. 31.