Port soccer shoots to raise the bar

After finishing over .500 for two straight seasons, Liebergen looks for team to make even more strides

SENIOR MADISON ZWICKER (left) returns to help lead Port Washington’s soccer team after making the North Shore Conference second team despite missing about half the season due to a torn ACL. Press file photo
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington High School girls’ soccer team is looking to build on two years of success under multiple state title-winning coach Eric Liebergen.

The Pirates finished above .500 for the second consecutive season last year — 5-3-1 in the North Shore Conference and 11-4-4 overall — won a Division 2 regional playoff game and a tournament and received the Team Ethics Award for sportsmanship and a Team Academic Award from United Soccer Coaches.

“Though we lost an impactful senior class, all of these benchmarks are within our grasp again, and we are aiming to raise the bar each year,” Liebergen said.

Among the Pirates’ 18 varsity players are three all-conference selections: midfielders Madison Zwicker and Claire Holtebeck and defender Ella Schmitt, who scored the game-winning goal in a playoff win over Kaukauna last season.

Zwicker, a senior, had three goals and four assists last year before she tore her ACL about halfway through the season and still earned second team NSC honors. She and Holtebeck, a junior who scored three times last season, will again handle midfield duties and, along with sophomores Kelly Fischer at midfielder and Tess Schueller at forward, will have plenty of opportunities to score.

Holtebeck and Schmitt both earned NSC honorable mention honors.

Schmitt will again play defense, along with sophomores Maddie Wehner and Lilly Clark.

Senior Kaytlin Kassens returns with experience as goalkeeper.

The Pirates lost NSC second-team forward Megan Barian and two honorable mention players, midfielder Payton Hurley and defender Natalie Lippe, to graduation. Barian led the team with 11 goals and five assists. Hurley scored four goals and had six assists.

Liebergen said two-time defending North Shore Conference champion Whitefish Bay and Grafton could again contend for the title.

“The conference race looks to be similar to recent years. I anticipate Whitefish Bay and Grafton to be strong, while Cedarburg, Homestead and ourselves will try to fight to be in the upper half,” he said.

Liebergen, who won four Division 3 titles with Ozaukee high School, came to Port in 2017 and led the Pirates to their first winning season in at least a decade.

The Pirates are slated to play Racine Horlick at Uihlein Soccer Park at 7:30 p.m. Friday, at Kettle Moraine Lutheran at 4:45 p.m. Monday and at Beaver Dam at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.



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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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