A SLIDING TACKLE by a Whitefish Bay player put Grafton’s Emma Fatla in a precarious position during a North Shore Conference match last week. Host Grafton edged the Blue Dukes, 2-1, in a battle of state-ranked teams. Photo by Sam Arendt
Strong 2nd-half efforts carry Grafton soccer team to another Pewaukee Cup title
A pair of strong second-half efforts made a trip to Pewaukee especially worthwhile for the Grafton girls’ soccer team last weekend.
After rallying to win their semifinal game in the Lady Pirate Cup tournament, the Black Hawks pulled away for a 2-0 victory over the host team in the championship match Saturday.
“The first half against Pewaukee was not one of our sharpest,” said Grafton coach Don Arnold, whose team successfully defended its tournament title.
“But in the second half, the girls played phenomenal soccer. They came out focused and executed great.”
Pewaukee, ranked No. 2 among the state’s Division 2 teams, hung tough with the Division 1-ranked Hawks through a scoreless first period.
However, Grafton dominated play the rest of the way, getting the game-winning goal in the 67th minute. Abby Freeland did the honor, scoring off a diagonal pass from Carley Pfannerstill.
Ten minutes later, the advantage was doubled when Hannah Eichler converted a shot off a corner kick by Emma Fatla.
In addition to defeating Pewaukee for the second straight year in the tournament final, Grafton handed the Pirates (11-1) their first loss of the season.
“Pewaukee has a nice team and played us tough,” Arnold said. “In the first half, our defense kept us in the game.”
Arnold singled out the play of defenders Audrey Dickmann, Gabi Kuester and Cassey Patula and goalkeeper Alissa Viste, who had seven saves.
Viste, a junior, returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s semifinal game due to illness.
The win improved Grafton’s overall record to 12-1-2 and stretched its unbeaten streak to 13 games.
Grafton 3, Kenosha St. Joseph 1
Tess Safstrom sparked the Hawks’ comeback win in Friday’s semifinals with a pair of second-half goals.
Grafton trailed, 1-0, at intermission after giving up a goal in the 20th minute. But after failing on several scoring chances in the opening period, the Hawks began to find the net with regularity.
Safstrom, a junior midfielder, tied the game with a goal in the 57th minute, assisted by Pfannerstill. Six minutes later, Safstrom scored on a diving head ball off a pass from Alyssa Arnold.
At 74 minutes, Pfannerstill capped the scoring with a goal assisted by Haley Orlowski.
“The first half was a struggle for us because we weren’t finishing,” coach Arnold said. “Once we got settled in, we started to string together some passes and taken advantage of our opportunities.”
The Hawks outshot St. Joseph, 29-3.
Grafton got a lift from sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Kretlow, who played well in her first full varsity game, coach Arnold said.
Grafton 2, Whitefish Bay 1
Orlowski’s goal in the 71st minute gave the Hawks the final word in a seesaw North Shore Conference battle between state-ranked teams May 3.
Host Grafton jumped ahead, 1-0, in the second minute when Eichler scored with an assist from Fatla. The lead held until Bay drew even in the 66th minute.
However, after withstanding several attacks by the Blue Dukes, Grafton countered with a run that culminated in Pfannerstill setting up Orlowski’s winner.
The win improved the Hawks to 1-0-1 in league play. Bay fell to 1-1-1.
“We were able to get off to a great start and put the pressure on Bay,” coach Arnold said. “But they came back and were pressuring us pretty good in the second half.”
This week, Grafton played Milwaukee Lutheran in an NSC game Tuesday, will host Hartford in a 7 p.m. nonconference match Thursday and participate in the Green Bay East tournament Saturday.
In their first two tournament matches, the Hawks will face Seymour and Pulaski.
On May 17, Grafton will resume conference play with a 7 p.m. game at Germantown.