One night after a WIAA tournament seeding meeting left Madison Memorial with a first-round road match, the Spartans appeared to come to Janesville with something to prove.
They needed less than half an hour to make their case that they were underseeded.
Junior Nora Erlandson scored twice in the opening 21 minutes, and Memorial blanked Craig 3-0 in a Big Eight Conference match.
“I believe they may have had something to prove,” Craig coach Bill McCabe said. “Give them all the credit in the world. They tackled harder than we did. And when you tackle harder, you seem to want it more.”
Though official brackets have not yet been released, Memorial drew the No. 9 seed in the WIAA Division 1 Kettle Moraine Sectional bracket. The Spartans play at Watertown in the opening round. Craig is a No. 7 seed and will host 10th-seeded Madison West on May 28.
Yet it’s Memorial that finished the conference season with a 7-1-1 mark and is still hoping to share the Big Eight title. And Craig sits at 5-3, with Memorial certainly rooting for the Cougars when they travel to face league-unbeaten Middleton next week.
On Thursday, though, Memorial stunned Craig with a pair of goals in the opening nine minutes.
Erlandson fired an odd-angled shot from just outside the 18-yard scoring box. Craig keeper Maia Rowekamp got a glove on the ball, but the high arcing shot found the back of the net at 5:47.
A defensive lapse just three minutes later opened a window for Spartans midfielder Emily Wadzinski, and the sophomore pounded a shot that made it 2-0.
Then, in the 21st minute, Erlandson again was left open, and her shot again glanced off Rowekamp before making it 3-0.
“They had three quality chances to score, and they scored on all three,” McCabe said. “We had multiple chances, too, but we didn’t have the quality at the end of them.”
Craig finished with 12 shots, an identical mark to Memorial, but the Spartans put twice as many (6) on frame. The Cougars were also whistled offsides five times as they struggled to finish on the offensive end.
“We didn’t have the quality at the end,” McCabe said. “We’re shooting from 25 yards out. Or we’d have an excellent cross ... and miss the ball. It just wasn’t there.”
Craig will host Watertown in a nonconference match Tuesday night before playing at Middleton two nights later.
MEMORIAL 3, CRAIG 0
Madison Memorial 3 0—3
Janesville Craig 0 0—0
M—Nora Erlandson, 5:47. M—Emily Wadzinski, 8:52. M—Erlandson, 20:44.
Saves—Hailey Collins (M) 3, Maia Rowekamp (C) 3. Shots—Memorial 12, Craig 12. Fouls—Memorial 17, Craig 13. Corner kicks—Memorial 3, Craig 6. Offsides—Memorial 1, Craig 5.