Block, Sperber and co. return for Grafton

Talented squad is ready to make a run at a North Shore Conference crown and play home games again
Ozaukee Press staff

Remember that star-studded Grafton High School girls’ soccer team last year — the one that went 8-1 in the North Shore Conference and nearly upset Catholic Memorial in the Division 3 sectional final?

Most of the Black Hawks’ top players are back.

That includes senior Hailey Block, voted by NSC coaches the No. 2-rated player in the conference last season and a first team all-state selection. She scored 23 goals and had 11 assists.

“She’s a game changer. She makes everybody around her better. She has the ability at any time to dribble past a defender and take a shot,” coach Don Arnold said.

Joining Block is senior Malaya Sperber, the No. 5-ranked player in the NSC last year and an all-state honorable mention. She scored 22 goals and had seven assists last year.

“Malaya is tenacious with great speed,” Arnold said. “Those are two players that at any moment can change the whole makeup of the game.

“They’re players that garner attention. When they do, they’ve got the vision and ability to find the open players.”

That opens opportunities for midfielders Lauren Stockhausen, Claire Kosidowski and Brianna Rapp. Stockhausen scored two goals and had four assists and rarely came out of games in earning all-conference honorable mention last season.

The Hawks lost second-team all-conference midfielder Gretchen Geiser to graduation.

On defense, senior Jaden Autey returns after making the NSC second team as a defender last season. She organized players as the Hawks’ defensive general.

She will get help from junior Kenzie Schultz, who earned honorable mention last year. When Schultz got the ball, the attack formation changed from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2, Arnold said.

Junior Ava Pederson is back, along with sophomore Zoe Dolberg.

“It’s definitely a solid crew. We have senior leadership in Jaden and younger players around her who are very, very intelligent, smart hard-working players,” Arnold said.

In addition, Arnold hopes a couple of newcomers step up. Senior Abbie Schad will play midfield and defense and sophomore Marie Weinhold will play forward.

“I’m interested to see how she does out there. She has good speed, understands the game,” Arnold said.

Senior Kate Seewart will also contribute at forward.

Senior Corbin Woessner returns as goalkeeper after earning honorabe mention last season. She tallied eight shutouts in her third year on varsity.

The Hawks are hoping to compete for the conference title this season.

“Basically, we could have pretty much the same team as last year,” Arnold said.

But he knows there’s more to a successful season than talent.

“A lot goes into it, the chemistry of the team, health is a key factor, how they click and how long it takes them to get going,” he said.

Besides many of the same names, the Hawks also return another element of its squad: its field. After not playing any home games last year due to the field being reseeded, the Hawks get a full slate this season. Cedarburg allowed them to use its field for senior night last season.

“I know the girls will be excited for that first home game. That bus travel gets a little old. It’s not bad for half a season, but last year every game they were on the bus,” Arnold said.

Spring break falls later this year, a couple of weeks into the season from April 15 to 19. No games are scheduled for that week, but Arnold will hold practices for those who aren’t traveling.

The Hawks were scheduled to open the season on Tuesday at Waukesha South. They play Brookfield East at Uihlein Soccer Park at 6:30 p.m.  Thursday and open conference play at West Bend East at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 2. Their first home game is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 23, against Homestead.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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