Penalty kick sends Milton into sectional final in soccer
Danielle Swerig made sure they were fairly compensated.
Swerig’s goal off a penalty kick at 5:40 of the second overtime lifted the Red Hawks to a 2-1 win over Delavan-Darien in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game.
Milton (16-2-2) will play state-ranked Kenosha Bradford at 2 p.m. Saturday at Elkhorn with a state berth on the line.
With a shootout looming and both teams tiring, Milton caught a break when one of its attackers was tripped in front of Delavan-Darien goalie Mallory Epping. The referee ruled that the Milton attacker was purposely taken down, and awarded the Red Hawks a penalty kick. Swerig lifted the penalty shot over the outstretched arms of Epping and into the upper right corner of the net for the game winner.
Swerig said she’s never missed on a penalty kick, and wasn’t about to with some much riding on Thursday’s kick.
“I was excited to get the chance because Delavan beat us last year,” Swerig said. “I always kick to that spot and I’ve never missed a PK in a game, so I wasn’t about to change tonight.”
The two teams, co-champions of the Southern Lakes Conference, played to a scoreless tie during the regular season.
Delavan-Darien (18-4-1) put the pressure on early with Hannah Brown’s goal in the 16th minute. Milton responded six minutes later when Amber Davis headed in a corner kick off the foot of Valerie Arnold.
Milton coach Bobby Nichols said the game-tying goal in the first half was crucial against a team like Delavan-Darien.
“We needed to prove to ourselves that we could score on their goalie because in the past we haven’t been able to do that,” Nichols said of Epping. “She’s probably the top goalie in the area, so getting that goal against her was big.”
Both teams had excellent scoring opportunities in the second half, but could not convert. The Comets’ Courtney Flood hit the post at 67:25, while Epping was able to corral Swerig’s blast in front of the net with 74:18 gone.
Flood had another scoring chance early in the second overtime, but her free kick sailed past Kildow and drifted aimlessly out of bounds.
Swerig’s game-winner brought to a close a spirited rivalry between the two Southern Lakes foes.
“You don’t really want to win a game that way, but we’ll take the win,” Nichols said of the penalty kick.
“Offensively, we’ve proven that we can hang with teams. Now on Saturday, we have to prove we can defend with them as well.”
Delavan-Darien coach Bruce Mowery believes the Red Hawks can play with Bradford.
“I said earlier in the year that Milton was the best team in the conference,” Mowery said. “Now, they get to go out on Saturday and prove. I wish them all the luck and I hope they get to state. There’s nothing like it.”
MILTON 2, DELAVAN-DARIEN 1 (2OT)
Delavan-Darien 1 0 0 0—1
Milton 1 0 0 1—2
DD—Hannah Brown (unassisted), 16:00. M—Amber Davis (Valerie Arnold), 22:00.
M—Danielle Swerig (penalty kick), 95:40.
Saves—Mallory Epping (Delavan-Darien) 8, Taryn Kildow (Milton) 12.