Pirates stand tall in loss to Bay

Port soccer team gives defending state champ a tussle before bowing, 3-0; Grafton goes 1-1 in NSC play

PORT WASHINGTON’S Lizzy Karrels (right) battled a Milwaukee King player for possession of the ball in a nonconference match May 3. The teams played to a 2-2 draw. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

It took the defending WIAA Division 2 state champion to hand the Port Washington girls’ soccer team its first defeat this season.

The Pirates lost at Whitefish Bay last Friday, 3-0, in a North Shore Conference game that had been scheduled to be played in Port Washington but was moved due to field conditions.

“Port showed heart and its ability to defend, keeping the Blue Dukes off the board until the 44th minute,” Pirates coach Eric Liebergen said.

Port goalie Kaytlin Kassens made more than 20 saves and gutted it out after being kicked in the chest on a late challenge by Bay. That, Liebergen said, earned praise from the Dukes coach.

On a sloppy home field the previous day, Port played Milwaukee King to a 1-1 tie in a nonconference game.

“Field conditions proved as much of a challenge as the opponent, slowing down the pace of the ball with inopportune puddles,” Liebergen said.

Lizzy Karrels put Port ahead with first-half goal assisted by Payton Hurley. King countered with  a goal late in the second half to force the draw.

On May 1, the Pirates battled Cedarburg to a 2-2 tie in a conference match.

The game was scoreless at halftime, which Liebergen said was fortunate given “the wind and energy of the game was going against the Pirates.”

After the wind subsided, Cedarburg scored twice in a 20-minute stretch.

Even so, Port didn’t panic, Liebergen said.

Freshman midfielder Tess Schueller “put new breath into our life,” stealing the ball from the Bulldogs’ defense and scoring in the 77th minute.

A goal by freshman Lilly Clark, on an assist from Hurley, drew Port even in the 89th minute.

“The week didn’t give us the results we were hoping for, but in a lot of ways it gave us what we needed,” Liebergen said.

“We needed a wake-up call in the Cedarburg game, and we learned we can come back when down multiple goals. We needed to learn that we can’t play less than our best and get a win.”

“We learned how to play without some of our senior leaders who were nursing injuries (Megan Barian against Cedarburg and King, and Hurley against Bay). And we learned that we can turn away potent attacks from a state champion for long stretches of time.”

Last week left Port at 2-1-1 in the North Shore Conference and 3-1-4 overall.

This week, the Pirates were scheduled to play at Hartford (2-1-1 NSC) on Tuesday, host Slinger (1-2-2) on Thursday and play in a quadrangular tournament at Kettle Moraine Lutheran on Saturday.

Hawks drop tight game against Bay

The Grafton girls’ soccer team bounced back last Friday after a 2-1 loss to Whitefish Bay earlier in the week.

The Black Hawks defeated Slinger, 5-2, on the road behind two goals each from Hailey Block and Malaya Sperber.

“We were trying to attack with speed and numbers,” Grafton coach Don Arnold said.

Block started the scoring in the 17th minute with an assist from Ava Pederson, and added an unassisted goal in the 31st minute.

Sperber scored in the 35th minute on an assist from Abbi Gutknecht, making it 3-0 at halftime.

Slinger got on the board in the 60th minute, but Sperber answered three minutes later with an assist from Block.

Natalie Cherella scored in the 89th minute with assists from Sperber and Block.

A Slinger goal 48 seconds later capped the scoring.

Arnold said Block has taken the step from being a great player to the next level.

“They make players better around them. I think Hailey does a fantastic job of making people around her much better,” he said. “She is able to keep possession and play into our forwards.”

Arnold described Sperber as “very dangerous.”

On the other side of the ball, Grafton’s depth has been key.

“Defensive players can rotate six to seven girls back there and not skip a beat, which is great to have,” Arnold said.

Against Bay on May 1, Grafton fell behind, 2-0, at halftime before a valiant comeback fell just short.

“It was a great battle. I think we did many good things to give us an opportunity to pull out a win there,” Arnold said.

After soft defense inside the box yielded two scores, Grafton regrouped at the break.

Sperber scored on an assist from Gretchen Geiser in the 53rd minute, but the Hawks couldn’t quite get the equalizer.

“Hailey Block played a fantastic game. Malaya Sperber on top was a beast,” Arnold said.

“You watch that game, and it could have went either way. We had some great opportunities. We just weren’t able to find the back of the net.

“Other than the final score, I think the girls felt good about how they played.”

Arnold praised defenders Janey Autey, Cora Danielson, Mackenzie Schultz, Brianna Rapp and Pederson and said Lauren Stockhausen won balls in the air.

Last week left the Hawks at 4-4 overall, including 3-1-0 and in second place in the NSC. Bay improved to 4-0.

This week, Grafton was to play at Nicolet (1-1-2 NSC) on Tuesday and at Cedarburg (1-1-2) on Thursday.



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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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