Shootout success carries Grafton boys’ soccer team to top honors at annual Appleton Xavier Invitational
Soccer teams usually can’t count on penalty kicks to win championships, but don’t tell that to the Grafton boys’ team.
The Black Hawks not only enjoyed going 1-on-1 against opposing keepers last weekend, they found the net often enough to secure first place at the Appleton Xavier Invitational.
“It was fantastic. It went right down to a shootout, and our guys stepped up,” Grafton coach Don Arnold said.
After posting a 2-0-1 record in their three tournament games, the Hawks found themselves tied with Eau Claire North on overall points. The deadlock required a shootout to determine the champion.
Grafton took the penalty-kick tiebreaker, 4-2. After Ben Lorge, Zach Greenwood and Jake Demerath converted their shots, Adam Huibregste sealed the win.
Goalkeeper Jeffrey Frankard limited North to two scores on their attempts.
“It was really exciting to see our guys come through like that,” said Arnold, whose team won the tournament for the first time.
“We played solid soccer and had a fun weekend.”
Grafton opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over Appleton West on Friday night.
Dominick Rome gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute with an assist from Lorge.
Adding goals were Brendon Konon (22 minutes) and Spencer Ortyn (29 minutes), with assists from Ben Bauman and Matt Salm, respectively.
In their first game Saturday, the Hawks battled Xavier to a 1-1 draw.
Grafton scored first when Demerath found the net off a free kick from Salm in the ninth minute. Xavier pulled even with a penalty kick in the 65th minute.
In a shootout to determine the winner, Grafton prevailed, 4-3.
Demerath, Huibregste, Konon and Greenwood converted penalty kicks. Frankard stopped four of Xavier’s seven shots to preserve the win.
In their final game, the Hawks got a hat trick from Lorge and rolled to a 4-0 win over Fox Valley Lutheran.
The junior midfielder put Grafton on the board with a goal at 17 minutes, assisted by Salm.
Lorge added two second-period goals, assisted by Salm and Bauman, and assisted on a score by Konon.
“Ben Lorge came up with some big plays for us,” Arnold said. “He had a great tournament.”
The tournament left the Hawks with an 11-2-1 season record heading into a pair of tough matches this week.
After facing Cedarburg in a North Shore Conference game Tuesday, Grafton will host Catholic Memorial in a nonconference match at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
On Oct. 1, the Hawks will resume NSC play with a 7 p.m. home game against Milwaukee Lutheran.
Pirates go 1-2 at Falls Invitational
Failure to finish hurt the Port Washington boys’ soccer team at the Sheboygan Falls Invitational last Saturday.
The Pirates got a 2-0 win over Howards Grove, but that was sandwiched between frustrating losses to Manitowoc, 1-0, and host Falls, 2-1.
“We had so many chances and couldn’t put the ball in the net when we had to,” Port coach Mike Bultman said.
“We played fantastic at times and controlled the ball, but then we made some bad decisions on when to shoot.”
Against Manitowoc, the Pirates found themselves in a scoreless tie until they surrendered a goal with 10 minutes left.
Port bounced back with a shutout against Howards Grove. Alex Lopez scored in the third minute, and Mason Purtell added a goal at 12 minutes.
The win kept the Pirates’ tournament title hopes alive entering their last game against Falls. But after Tyler Mueller gave them a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, their offense failed to click.
Falls tied the game in the 15th minute and got the winning goal in the second half on a deflection.
“Falls has a large, athletic team. They played physical soccer,” Bultman said.
“We were able to control the ball and had some scoring opportunities but couldn’t finish them. It was frustrating.”
The tournament left Port with a 2-12-1 season record entering a North Shore Conference match Tuesday against Whitefish Bay.
On Oct. 1, the Pirates will host Germantown in a 7 p.m. NSC game.
Grafton 3, Port Washington 1
After a slow start, the Hawks broke open a close game and secured a conference win Sept. 17.
Demerath gave Grafton a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute when he converted a header off a corner kick by Lorge.
A minute later, Port drew even with a goal by Alex Penkwitz.
However, the Hawks countered with goals from Demerath at 28 minutes and Huibregste at 73 minutes.
“Port made us work for everything we got,” Arnold said. “The game was up for grabs until we were finally able to get the third goal.”
With the win, the Hawks retained possession of the Timm Snider Memorial Cup, named in honor of a late soccer player and coach.
The game improved Grafton to 3-2 in NSC play and dropped Port to 0-4.
Image Information: GRAFTON’S BEN LORGE and Port Washington’s Triston Williams battled for the ball during a North Shore Conference game Sept. 17. Grafton pulled away from a 1-1 tie to score a 3-1 win. Photo by Sam Arendt