Trio of Grafton standouts named to All-NSC first team; Port has two on second team
North Shore Conference coaches tapped into a youth movement when they cast their votes for all-league honors in girls’ soccer this spring.
And the Grafton Black Hawks were right there with the top award recipients.
Coach Don Arnold’s squads had three players — goalkeeper Alissa Viste, defender Hannah Knauer and midfielder Emma Fatla — named to the All-NSC first team and another, forward Hannah Eichler, chosen for the second team.
Among other local squads, Port Washington had two players — midfielder Bre McDonald and defender Mallory Mueller — chosen for the second team.
All of Grafton’s standouts are sophomores and Port Washington’s are juniors, underscoring a voting trend in which 19 of the 22 top honorees are underclassmen.
“There are a lot of young, talented players in the North Shore Conference, and the coaches recognized that,” said Arnold, who guided the Hawks to a fourth-place, 4-2-1 league record, a 20-6-2 overall mark and runner-up honors in the WIAA Division 2 state tournament.
A major key to Grafton’s success was its staunch defense, which produced a streak of seven shutouts entering the state quarterfinals.
Viste anchored the Hawks’ back line with quick feet and sure hands, posted 16 shutouts overall and allowed less than one goal per game.
“Alissa worked extremely hard in the off-season and built off what she accomplished last year,” Arnold said. “For her to make the first team in the North Shore as a sophomore goalkeeper speaks for itself.”
Knauer, Grafton steadiest defender, was usually called on to mark the opposing team’s top scoring threat and responded with an unrelenting approach.
“Hannah was the workhorse in the defensive midfield for us,” Arnold said. “She was phenomenal in her approach to the game.”
Knauer also showed her offensive skills by contributing two goals and four assists.
Fatla, another player known for her nonstop motor, sparked the Hawks’ transition game with 10 goals and nine assists.
“Emma was the one of the players everyone focused on for us,” Arnold said. “She was the anchor of our midfield.”
Eichler, who earned all-league second-team honors for the second straight year, led Grafton with 25 goals and had nine assists.
She teamed with sophomore Carley Pfannerstill, who received honorable mention in the coaches’ voting, to give the Hawks one of the area’s most dangerous offensive tandems.
“We were very lucky to have two young forwards who play so well together,” Arnold said. “Both of them can score but also create a lot of opportunities for their teammates.”
Pfannerstill had 13 goals and was the Hawks’ top playmaker with 13 assists.
“Carley has really improved since last year,” Arnold said. “Her assist numbers show how valuable she is to our team.”
Grafton’s Audrey Dickmann, a freshman defender, also received honorable mention. A versatile player, she used speed and tenacity to help steady the Hawks’ back line.
“As a freshman sweeper, she faced a lot of pressure and handled it very well,” Arnold said. “Audrey reads the game well and was a huge asset back there.”
Port Washington was winless in conference play (0-7) and just 2-11-1 overall but received solid leadership from McDonald and Mueller. The pair were key contributors on an offensively challenged squad that continued to improve.
McDonald, one of the Pirates’ co-captains, “was really a playmaker and a tremendous worker,” Port coach Sean O’Brien said.
Mueller earned a reputation as “one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the conference,” O’Brien said.
“There was no give-up in Mal. Even when she was hurt, she never wanted to come out of the game.”
McDonald and Mueller are among nine juniors on a Port team that will lose only four players, including one starter, to graduation.
CG-B’s Ansay, Ozaukee’s Lapinski lead local stars in All-Central Lakeshore voting
Top talent and title contenders go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise that the Cedar Grove-Belgium and Ozaukee girls’ soccer teams are well represented in coaches’ voting for this year’s All-Central Lakeshore Conference honors.
Cedar Grove-Belgium, which shared the league crown with Howards Grove before relinquishing the title due to a rules infraction, had four players named to the top two All-CLC teams. Midfielder Taylor Ansay was a unanimous choice for the first team, and midfielders Hannah Kaul and Rachel Slotman and goalkeeper Kristen Slotman were named to the second team.
Ozaukee, which finished fourth in the league, is represented by midfielders Jeanette Lapinski and Katie Bares on the first team and defender Ashley Orten on the second team. Lapinski was a unanimous choice.
Ansay, a senior captain, was a spark plug for a Rockets team that won its last nine conference matches and won 17 in a row overall on its way to a WIAA Division 3 sectional final. She scored three goals but was better known for launching attacks that led to assists and goals for her teammates.
“Taylor was probably one of the hardest-working players I ever coached,” Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Papi Pozo said. “She always goes 100% in every game and created a lot of problems for the other team.”
Ansay was a unanimous first-team choice for the second straight year.
Lapinski, one of only two seniors on the Ozaukee roster, was also a unanimous first-team selection. She had six goals and four assists and was known as a tireless worker.
“Jeanette led by example in her demeanor and effort at every practice, every game,” Ozaukee coach Eric Liebergen said. “She used her body well to win 50-50 balls.”
Bares, the only freshman chosen for the first team, had eight goals and seven assists.
“She has excellent control of the ball and can dance with the ball all the way down the field,” Liebergen said. “I’m very pleased with how Katie developed through the season, and she’s the type of player that will get better each year.”
Cedar Grove-Belgium led all conference schools with three players on the second team, all seniors.
Kaul, who will play collegiate soccer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, didn’t join the Rockets until eight games into the season but quickly established herself as one of the league’s most talented performers. She had eight goals and 10 assists and provided invaluable leadership.
“Hannah was tremendously important to our team’s success,” Pozo said. “She had a great attitude and fit right in with the other players. It was a joy to coach her.”
At 5 foot-11, Rachel Slotman was one of the area’s tallest midfielders — and one of its most relentless. She had three goals and four assists and always played hard, Pozo said.
“Rachel was all over the field for us. She was tall but covered a lot of ground and was very good with the header,” he said.
Kristen Slotman, Rachel’s twin, anchored the Rockets’ back line, using her height and reach to stymie opponents’ scoring attempts. She had 12 shutouts.
“I thought Kristen deserved to be on the first team,” Pozo said. “She was outstanding all season.”
Orten, a junior captain for the Warriors, excelled as a sweeper.
“Ashley did well to organize our defense and make decisions on when to pressure the ball and when to provide cover,” Liebergen said. “She will be relied upon heavily next year to help us reach our goals.”
Receiving honorable mention were Cedar Grove-Belgium forwards Halie Schieffer, Mariah Keller and Caitlin Hausner and defender Ashley Turnquist and Ozaukee forward Mari Scalone, midfielder Ali Hughes and defender Brittany Schueller.
Schieffer, a freshman, led the Rockets with 13 goals, had four assists and impressed Pozo with her quick-strike ability.
“Halie kept getting better and is going to be a very good player for years to come,” he said.
Keller, a senior, had five goals and six assists. Steady play by Hausner, a freshman, and Turnquist, a junior, was crucial to the Rockets’ defensive effort.
“All three of those girls played very hard and were very smart and tough. They were the heart and soul of our team,” Pozo said.
Scalone, a sophomore, scored five goals after being moved from defender to forward, including a game-winning score in overtime against Elkhart Lake.
Hughes, a junior captain, was Ozaukee’s central defender and provided key leadership despite playing several games with injuries.
“She wanted to be out on the field, and our team was better when she was out there,” Liebergen said.
Schueller, a senior, was a steady marking defender assigned to opponents’ top forwards.
“In instances where we were playing from behind, we pushed her up into the attack because of her powerful shot,” Liebergen said.
OUTSTANDING MIDFIELD PLAY earned Grafton sophomore Emma Fatla (left) a place on the All-North Shore Conference first team in girls’ soccer this season. Photo by Sam Arendt