Ozaukee girls dig down for comeback win that sends them into Div. 4 sectionals
Clutch play in pressure situations carried the Ozaukee girls’ soccer team to a WIAA Division 3 state title last season.
Although the Warriors are making this year’s postseason run in Division 4, their flair for the dramatic continued in another big game Saturday.
This time, host Ozaukee rallied to edge Hustisford, 2-1, in double overtime and secure a regional championship.
Halee VandeBoom capped the comeback in the 92nd minute, slipping through the defense to score off a long pass from Kait Paetzke.
“We got down a goal early in a tight, physical game and put ourselves in position where we had to fight back,” Warriors coach Eric Liebergen said.
Third-seeded Hustisford grabbed the advantage in the 12th minute. Kristen Margelofsky made it 1-0 on a header off a cross from Brianna Jochem.
The Falcons (16-4-1) maintained the lead until early in the second half. In the process, they withstood several attacks by second-seeded Ozaukee, including a shot that deflected off the post.
But in the 44th minute, the Warriors (17-4-3) made another run and drew a foul in the penalty area.
Lizzie Janke converted the penalty kick to tie the game.
“We kept some nice pressure on them and had several chances,” Liebergen said. “It finally paid off.”
Steady defense also helped Ozaukee prevail. Goalkeeper Kaylee Klopp had six saves.
The win was the Warriors’ 11th in their last 12 games and advanced them into sectional play this week.
Familiar foe awaits in next round
On Thursday, Ozaukee will face a familiar opponent when it travels to Hartland to take on Lake Country Lutheran in a 4:30 p.m. sectional semifinal.
The top-seeded Lightning (17-5) will tangle with the Warriors in a rematch of last year’s state semifinals. Ozaukee won that game, 1-0.
Most recently, though, Lutheran edged the Warriors, 1-0, in the championship game of the Brookfield Academy Bash on April 12.
Liebergen expects another tough match but is confident of his team’s chances.
The Warriors’ level of play “is definitely up there,” he said.
“We’ve gotten more consistent as the season has gone on.”
The winner of Thursday’s game will face the winner of a semifinal between Columbus (No. 4) and Wisconsin Heights (No. 7) for the sectional title at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ozaukee.
Ozaukee 11, Central Wisconsin Christian 0
A first-half offensive blitz carried the host Warriors to an easy win in the regional semifinals June 5.
Emily Janke and Natalie Clark each had three goals as Ozaukee rolled to a 10-0 lead by halftime.
Also in the first period, Brooke Bares scored twice, and Meghan VandeBoom and McKenna Large had a goal apiece.
After Janke added her fourth goal in the 44th minute, the game was called on a mercy rule at 60 minutes.
Bares and Haley Gabriel each had two assists, and Hoffmann and Autumn Smith had one apiece.
Ozaukee 10, Random Lake 0
Clark and Emily Janke each had hat tricks as the Warriors capped the regular season with a Central Lakeshore Conference road win June 3.
Scoring one goal apiece were Meghan VandeBoom, Klopp, Bares and Gabriel.
Lizzie Janke was credited with two assists, and Bares had another.
Ozaukee finished CLC play with a second-place record of 11-3, a half-game behind champion Howards Grove (11-2-1).
Image information: OZAUKEE’S ASHLEY PREISLER managed to clear the ball despite being sandwiched between Central Wisconsin Christian players during a regional semifinal game. Photo by Sam Arendt