Improved play at quadrangular helps Port boys rebound after tough stretch in North Shore Conference
After struggling through a losing streak that reached five games, the Port Washington boys’ soccer team was eager for a reprieve last weekend.
The Pirates found one at a home quadrangular despite having a short-handed lineup.
“I was very proud of the way the guys played,” Port coach Mike Bultman said after his squad finished second in the tournament with a 1-0, overtime loss to Madison Edgewood on Saturday.
“We were missing some of our best players, and they still hung in there with a young, inexperienced lineup.”
The Pirates opened the tournament with a 5-1 win over Luxemburg-Casco in Friday’s semifinals. However, on Saturday they were without forward Danny Karrels and midfielder Marcus Lackovic, a pair of seniors who missed the game due to ACT tests.
In addition, defender D.J. Soya and midfielder James Klotz were sidelined with injuries.
Despite having to go with an underclassman-heavy lineup, Port battled Edgewood to a scoreless deadlock through regulation. The Crusaders ended the suspense by scoring 30 seconds into overtime.
“It was a loss, but we did very well,” said Bultman, who singled out the play of juniors Alex Bello and Mitch Lemons, sophomore Jacob Setzke and freshman Mason Purtell.
On defense, Setzke “stepped up big, and Lemons made some huge saves,” Bultman said.
The loss left the Pirates with a 2-6 season record.
Against Luxemburg-Casco, Port was outshot early but still built a 4-0 lead by halftime.
After Karrels scored in the 12th minute, Bello added a first-half hat trick with goals at 17, 32 and 33 minutes.
Lackovic assisted on the first two goals, and Karrels returned the favor on the next two.
In the second half, Purtell set up another goal by Karrels at 47 minutes.
“Luxemburg-Casco outshot us, 12-5, in the first half, but their shots were all from far out,” Bultman said.
In Friday’s other semifinal, Edgewood edged Platteville, 2-1, in overtime.
Luxemburg-Casco blanked Platteville, 2-0, in the consolation final.
Whitefish Bay 6, Port Washington 0
The Pirates fell behind early in a North Shore Conference loss to host Bay on Sept. 7.
The Blue Dukes held a 4-0 lead at halftime and controlled play throughout the match, Bultman said.
“They’re just more experienced than we are,” he said. “They also ran a very complicated offense that was hard to defend.”
The loss dropped Port to 0-3 in NSC play.
This week, the Pirates faced Milwaukee Lutheran on Tuesday and will participate in a four-team tournament at Ashwaubenon on Friday and Saturday.
In the first round, Port will play Gibraltar/Sevastopol at 5:30 p.m.
Black Hawks deadlocked on road
The Grafton boys’ soccer team rallied for a 1-1 tie in a nonconference game against host West Bend West on Sept. 9.
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead in the 71st minute on a goal by Casey Brzeski. However, Grafton answered at 74:53 when Michael Salm found the net on a penalty kick.
The teams then played through two scoreless overtime periods.
“We had five or six decent scoring chances in overtime, but we couldn’t finish,” Grafton coach Don Arnold said. “It was definitely frustrating.”
The failure to finish continued a pattern of missed opportunities for the Hawks, who fell to 1-4-4 overall.
“I just think it’s inexperience for us,” Arnold said. “It’s hard to score in soccer; if it wasn’t, every game would be 15-14.
“We just have to keep working and learning how to improve.”
Nicolet 1, Grafton 0
A 15-10 edge in shots didn’t help in the Hawks in a tough North Shore Conference road loss Sept. 7.
After a scoreless first half, the Knights got the only goal they needed in the 47th minute.
The defeat left the Hawks at 1-2 in the conference after they opened league play with their only win of the season Aug. 24 against Homestead.
“Against Nicolet, we had plenty of opportunities, but we couldn’t tuck any of those shots away,” Arnold said.
This week, Grafton faced Whitefish Bay on Tuesday and will play in an eight-team tournament at Appleton Xavier on Friday and Saturday.
ALEX BELLO scored three goals for the Port Washington boys’ soccer team in a 5-1 win over Luxemburg-Casco on Friday. Photo by Sam Arendt