Wisconsin’s three-day soccer showcase is in the books.
So, what did we learn from the 36th WIAA state soccer tournament?
The best ... ever?
Whitefish Bay looked every bit the best team in the state, regardless of division, with a pair of convincing wins. That included a 6-1 dismantling of Oregon in the Division 2 state final that was over before some fans had even found their seats at Uihlein Soccer Park.
Matthew Comiskey scored 30 seconds into the match and the Blue Dukes led 6-0 by halftime.
Whitefish Bay, ranked No. 2 in the country by some media outlets, created offensive chances out of nothing, and punished an Oregon defense that was too slow to close down the ball.
The Blue Dukes out-scored opponents 142-10 this season, securing a third straight state title and an umblemished season (25-0-0).
It’s impossible to compare this year’s Whitefish Bay team to squads of years past, but they’re certainly in the discussion as one of the best teams Wisconsin has seen at the varsity level.
Physical play ruled the state tournament, and officials had to frequently reach for their whistles.
Nowhere was that more obvious than during Friday’s Division 3 semifinal between Delavan-Darien and Plymouth. The two sides combined for 16 fouls in a scoreless first half—11 by Plymouth—and the Panthers’ hard tackling almost certainly took the Comets out of their game. Plymouth was also issued three yellow cards in the second half and overtime.
Overall, 35 yellow cards were handed out across 12 state games.
Top scorers keep scoring
Six players arrived in Milwaukee with 40 or more goals to their names. The state’s two highest scorers, Delavan-Darien’s Zeus Huerta and Jason Cano, each scored once in overtime during the Comets 2-0 semifinal win over Plymouth. Huerta finished with 51 goals overall, and Cano had 50.
Whitefish Bay’s Matthew Comiskey scored three times, including twice in the state championship, to finish the year with 44 goals. Amery’s Galen Coy scored a first-half penalty kick for his 43rd goal, but his team couldn’t hold off Mount Horeb in a 5-1 loss.
Nolan Wolf scored two goals—giving him 43 overall—in a Division 4 semifinal to help The Prairie School to the final.
New Richmond’s Andrew Johnson (43 goals) was the only 40-goal scorer to be held off the scoresheet at state. His side was blanked 5-0 by Whitefish Bay in a semifinal.
Trial run for reseeding
For the first time ever, the state field was reseeded following sectionals. Coaches were mostly spot on with their rankings, because the top seed won the title in three of four divisions, with only Delavan-Darien (Division 3) failing to live up to its seed.
Second-seeded Mount Horeb beat the Comets 2-1 to win its first title since 2015.
Three-seeds Hartland Arrowhead (Division 1), Oregon (Division 2), and Sturgeon Bay (Division 4) each pulled upsets against second-seeded opponents.