Penalty-kick victories give Grafton boys‘ soccer team top honors at Kettle Moraine Lutheran Invitational
High drama left members of the Grafton boys’ soccer team smiling at the Kettle Moraine Lutheran Invitational last Saturday.
Although the Black Hawks couldn’t secure a win in regulation in either of their two games, they still walked away with first-place honors.
A pair of shootout victories did the trick, including a 3-2 penalty-kick edge over Shoreland Lutheran that decided the championship of the four-game tournament.
“It was a good experience to get these kind of wins because the guys had to respond under pressure,” Grafton coach Don Arnold said.
“You’d like to win the game outright, but never know when you’re going to have to go to a shootout later in the season. It’s good to know you can come through like that.”
Last year, the Hawks played two scoreless games at the same tournament only to fall each time in a shootout. On Saturday, they downed Lutheran when Austin Kearns, Wolfgang Pilarski and
Nick Markworth converted penalty kicks.
Goalkeeper Austin Mertes stopped Lutheran’s fourth and final shot to seal the victory.
The shootout capped a tense game in which both teams failed to convert scoring chances in regulation, which was shortened to two 35-minute periods.
In the semifinals, the Hawks battled Kettle Moraine Lutheran to a 2-2 deadlock through regulation before winning a 5-4 shootout.
The Chargers scored first in the 23rd minute, but Grafton pulled even two minutes later on an unassisted goal by Nick Bocanegra.
The Hawks took a 2-1 lead on Martin Olavarrieta’s goal, assisted by Wes Moorhead, in the 34th minute. However, Kettle Moraine Lutheran pulled even at 62 minutes.
The shootout wasn’t decided until freshman keeper Killian Mielotz stopped the Chargers’ final penalty kick. Converting shots for Grafton were Kearns, Michael Salm, Markworth, Alex Konop and Alex Lorbecki.
Both teams missed their third attempts.
“It was really nice to come home with a championship,” Arnold said. “The guys worked hard against two good teams.”
Because regular-season shootouts are counted as ties, the tournament left Grafton with a 1-2-2 overall record heading into a North Shore Conference game Tuesday against Cedarburg.
The Hawks will continue play this week with 7 p.m. nonconference games at West Bend East on Thursday and at home against University School on Friday.
Slinger 3, Grafton 2
The Hawks rallied after falling behind by two goals in the 59th minute but came up short in a nonconference road game Aug. 25.
After Slinger grabbed a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute, Grafton countered with an unassisted goal by Willie McElligott at 53 minutes. However, the Owls quickly scored twice, including a penalty-kick goal in the 59th minute, to build a 3-1 edge.
Josh Bunzel had Slinger’s third goal.
Grafton’s final goal came from Olavarrieta in the 61st minute.
“Slinger is not a bad team at all and played us tough,” Arnold said. “We got scored on early and played catch-up the rest of the game.”
Grafton 2, Homestead 1
A determined road performance gave the Hawks a key win in their North Shore Conference opener Aug. 24.
After being frustrated by a number of losses to Homestead in recent years, as well as a 1-1 tie last season, Grafton took control this time.
Bocanegra’s goal in the 36th minute put the Hawks up, 1-0, at halftime. Kevin Wegner scored on a header in the 73rd minute to make it 2-0 before Homestead answered with a goal by Eric
Stemmeler at 78 minutes.
The Hawks hung on in the waning seconds to secure the win, which gives them an early edge on a perennial NSC title contender.
“It was huge, big, gigantic, however you want to describe it,” Arnold said of the victory. “There’s no question that a win like this is crucial in the conference.”
The only downside for Grafton was the loss of sophomore forward Jake Kellett, who was sidelined after sustaining a leg injury early in the game. He is expected to be out at least four weeks, Arnold said.
Germantown 5, Port Washington 1
Almost nothing went right for the Pirates Aug. 24 when they opened North Shore Conference play with a lackluster home loss.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute, Germantown added a three-goal flurry from the 26th through 31st minutes and held a 4-0 edge at halftime.
“We played very, very tentative soccer and made some stupid mistakes,” Port coach Mike Bultman said.
“Germantown is a good team. When we got caught out of position, they put their shots away.”
The Pirates, who fell to 1-3 overall, averted a shutout when Alex Bello scored in the 60th minute.
The Warhawks answered that with a goal despite being down to 10 players after a red card was issued.
“It was out of character for us to play that poorly,” Bultman said. “Hopefully, we will learn from it.”
Port faced Nicolet on Tuesday and will continue NSC play Sept. 7 with a 7 p.m. game at Whitefish Bay.