Milton girls soccer drops sectional semifinal, other scores
That was exactly the case for Milton High School’s girls soccer team here Thursday, and now the Red Hawks must feel like they’re oh-so-close to being a state tournament-caliber team.
In a 1-0 sectional semifinal loss to top-seeded Kenosha Bradford—also ranked sixth in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Division 1 state poll—at Ameche Field, fourth-seeded Milton showed how far it has come from last season while also giving the Red Hawks’ faithful a lot to look forward to next year.
Yes, Milton advanced a round further last year than it did this season, but last season the Red Hawks were defeated by a convincing 4-0 score against the same Bradford team—coached by former Janesville Craig standout Tanya Wojciechowicz (formerly Tanya Perkins)—in the sectional finals.
Thursday’s match demonstrated that Milton has narrowed the gap between itself and a program that will be trying to reach its third straight state tournament against Kenosha Tremper in a sectional final at 1 p.m. Saturday at Ameche Field.
“You’re playing a top-ranked team in the state,” Milton coach Bobby Nichols said of his Red Hawks’ performance. “We gave them everything we had. There’s nothing negative about this game. Everything we did was a positive step forward for next year.”
The Red Hawks (15-4-2) played four freshmen regularly this seasonand also will return talented junior forward Amber Davis, who nearly altered the outcome of Thursday’s match in the 18th minute.
Catching the Red Devils (18-3-1) napping, Davis split the defense, took a long through ball and was all alone on Bradford goalie Kalli Schulz. But Schulz turned away Davis’ point-blank attempt, which turned out to be Milton’s best scoring opportunity.
“We had a breakaway that Amber Davis should’ve put away, and unfortunately she missed it,” Nichols said. “It could’ve been a different game.”
Nichols said he was hoping his team could counter-attack against an aggressive Bradford defense, but the Red Devils shut things down the rest of the match.
“We were hoping that they would commit more defenders forward and that we could get the counter-attack,” Nichols said. “Unfortunately, they were scared of Amber, and they kept four people in the back the whole time.
“They shut down a big player. If Amber’s not all-state, I don’t know who is.”
Bradford, meanwhile, controlled the ball in Milton’s end most of the match, but the Red Hawks’ defensive unit of Emily Sokn, Courtney Schumacher, Valerie Arnold and Laura Martinelli did an outstanding job of clogging things up when the Red Devils got near goalkeeper Sloane Hecimovich.
In the 55th minute, Hecimovich made a sparkling diving stop on a low shot by Bradford’s Stephanie Barsuli, but the ball came right to Loren Larsen, who deposited it into the open net for the match’s only goal.
Though the Red Hawks couldn’t counter, one got the sense they were ready for next season the second this one ended.
“We’re a young team, and we have a big future if we all work in the offseason. That’s for sure,” Nichols said.
BRADFORD 1, MILTON 0
Milton 0 0—0
Kenosha Bradford 0 1—1
KB—Loren Larsen (Stephanie Barsuli), 54:25.
Saves—Sloane Hecimovich (M) 4, Kalli Schulz (KB) 2.
-- Tremper 7, Badger 1—Lake Geneva Badger coach Ramon Reyes was straightforward in assessing his sixth-seeded team’s loss to second-seeded Kenosha Tremper in the first semifinal game of the Division 1 sectional at Ameche Field.
“They’re a great team,” Reyes said. “It’s fun to play them. The better team won today, bottom line.”
The Trojans (16-6-1) scored in the game’s first 30 seconds, led 2-0 in the first 10 minutes and held a 5-0 advantage at halftime.
Kaela Hoecherl notched a hat trick for Tremper, while Emma Kopp scored the lone goal for the Badgers (20-5-1), who shared the Southern Lakes championship with Delavan-Darien.
“I have a young program coming up,” Reyes said. “I’m starting four freshmen right now. Playing up here at this level, I think was good to see.”
TREMPER 7, BADGER 1
Lake Geneva Badger 0 1—1
Kenosha Tremper 5 2—7
Badger goal— Emma Kopp. Tremper goals— Kaela Hoecherl 3, Alyx Dever 2, Lisa Welch, Emily Mohr.
-- Palmyra-Eagle 3, Hustisford 2—A rubber match between Palmyra-Eagle and Lake Mills will decide if the Panthers make a second straight trip to the WIAA Division 3 girls state soccer tournament.
Second-seeded Palmyra-Eagle (9-9-3) got three first-half goals—two from Faith Hoelzel 30 seconds apart—to beat the top-seeded Falcons (14-9-1) in Thursday’s sectional semifinal.
Palmyra-Eagle will play in Saturday’s sectional final against Lake Mills. The Panthers and L-Cats split a pair of regular season matches. Palmyra-Eagle won the first game, 5-2, and lost the second, 1-0. The teams will be meeting for the fifth time in the last two years. Palmyra-Eagle beat Lake Mills in last year’s sectional semifinals on its way to state where the Panthers lost to the Milwaukee University School in the state semifinals.
Hustisford got a pair of second-half goals from Brandi Peltier, but the Falcons couldn’t score the equalizer in the final 19 minutes.
PALMYRA-EAGLE 3, HUSTISFORD 2
Palmyra-Eagle 3 0—3
Hustisford 0 2—2
PE—Faith Hoelzel (Kelly Bolli) 17:31. PE—Hoelzel (Becky Pronschinske), 18:00. PE—Lauren Roscizewski (Bolli), 32:11.
H—Brandi Peltier, 56:00. H—Peltier, penalty kick, 61:00.
Saves—Liz Madecky (PE) 7, Sam Keuhl (H) 6.