Upset lifts Red Hawks within one game of state bid
“That was just luck,” Lysak said.
Well, don’t ask the Red Hawks for any apologies.
Lysak’s two goals and a tremendous defensive effort led fourth-seeded Milton (13-10) to an upset of top-seeded Tremper (19-4-2), putting the Red Hawks one win away from their first state appearance since 2002.
Standing in the way is third-seeded Lake Geneva Badger (18-3-3), which toppled second-seeded Racine Park, 3-1, Thursday. Milton and Badger play their sectional final 1 p.m. Saturday at Wilmot.
Because Badger played Park on Thursday morning, the Red Hawks knew by the time they took the field against Tremper that they’d face the Badgers if they won. Revenge proved to be strong motivation, considering Badger knocked Milton out of the playoffs with a 1-0 win in last year's sectional semifinals.
“It’s on against Badger,” Milton second-year coach Ryan Wagner said. “They knocked us out last year, so we want some revenge against them.
“They're a tough team. It's not going to be a cakewalk, by any means, but we’ll give them a good game, I think.”
Of course, the Red Hawks had the pesky task of taking down the talented Trojans before they could worry about Badger.
Lysak provided the decisive goal when he was awarded a free kick from about 25 yards out with the game tied 1-1 in the 57th minute. Lysak fired a rocket that he said was aimed for the upper-left corner, but the ball deflected hard off a Tremper defender and went over the head of Tremper goalkeeper Marcos Perez right into the middle of the net.
“You just have to pound it in and hope for the best,” said Lysak, last season's Southern Lakes Conference Player of the Year.
His coach agreed.
“Any way you can get a goal, we’ll take it,” Wagner said. “If you hit it hard enough, it’s bound to go in.”
Lysak's first goal didn’t come off a deflection, but it was still a bit fluky.
With the game scoreless in the 12th minute, Luke Novak played a long through ball for Lysak. There were two Tremper defenders there, but they miscommunicated, and Lysak found himself all alone on Perez. He buried the shot into the lower right corner, and Milton led 1-0 at halftime.
Tremper’s David Caban scored off a nifty pass from Jesus Oseguera in the 44th minute to tie it, but that was one of few scoring opportunities for the Trojans.
Using a physical brand of soccer, Milton afforded little space to Tremper’s offensive attack, which relies heavily on keeping the ball along the ground on the speedy artificial turf of Ameche Field. The Trojans attempted just nine shots total, with only five on net, and their last shot on goal came in the 63rd minute.
Wagner praised the play of defenders Nick Miller, Austin Grandt, Adam Homan and Justin Karleski, and goalie Nick Hallett made four saves.
“They’re a very good team at working the ball, but we just wanted to disrupt that,” Wagner said. “So we had to kind of play a little bang-ball here and there, but that was to our advantage.”
Numerous players went down throughout the game, and a Tremper defender even had to go to the hospital following the game after a collision late in the second half. Nobody, however, seemed to think the game was out of line.
“We’re used to physical games,” Wagner said. “We’ve got some bruisers out there, so we can give it back to them.”
And now Milton hopes to return a favor on Saturday by eliminating Badger and going to state.
“(This group of players has) never gotten this far before, and it’s really something to look forward to,” Lysak said.
MILTON 2, TREMPER 1
Milton 1 1—2
Kenosha Tremper 0 1—1
M—Adam Lysak (Luke Novak), 11:39.
KT—David Caban (Jesus Oseguera), 43:13. M—Lysak (unassisted), 56:32.
Saves—Nick Hallett (M) 4, Marcos Perez (KT) 5.
Badger upsets Racine Park
-- Badger 3, Park 1—Wes Aranda, Mike Legoo and Chris Georgalas each scored a goal as third-seeded Lake Geneva Badger (18-3-3) earned a spot in Saturday’s sectional title game with a victory over second-seeded Racine Park (16-3-6).
“We’re just happy to be where we are at this point,” Badger coach Ramon Reyes said.
The Red Hawks and Badgers have not played this season. Badger advanced to last year’s sectional final by beating Milton before being eliminated by Kenosha Tremper.
BADGER 3, PARK 1
Lake Geneva Badger 1 2—3
Racine Park 0 1—1
LGB—Wes Aranda, 38:00.
RP—Fernando Gutierrez (Aaron Cooper), 64:00. LGB—Mike Legoo (Kyle Bleckner), 71:00. LGB—Chris Georgalas (Frank Delgado), 76:00.
Saves—Brandon Gruenwald-Schmidt (LGB) 8.
Pewaukee ousts Whitewater
-- Pewaukee 2, Whitewater 0—A goal in each half lifted Pewaukee (16-4-1) past Whitewater (16-4-1) in Thursday’s sectional semifinal at Pewaukee.
Pewaukee’s second goal was scored on controversial free kick with 5:06 to go in the game.
The winners advance to Saturday’s sectional title game at Mount Horeb where they will play the host school, a 2-1 victor over McFarland in the other sectional semifinal.
PEWAUKEE 2, WHITEWATER 0
Whitewater 0 0—0
Pewaukee 1 1—2
P—Ryan Schwister (Geordin Panagopoulos), 6:23.
P—Luke Wiesemann (David Czerwinski), 74:54.
Saves—Abi Ochoa (W), 6; Mike Wedeward (P), 4.