It was feast or famine for Janesville Craig’s goal-scorers this season.
Despite finding the scoreboard early Tuesday night, the Cougars’ postseason ended long before they arrived at any sort of main course.
Senior Quinlan Thompson scored in traffic less than four minutes into overtime, leading 10th-seeded Madison West to a 2-1 victory over seventh-seeded Craig in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal match.
The Cougars, who reached a sectional final in 2018, finished with a 9-7-1 mark this year, while West advanced to play at second-seeded Middleton in the regional finals.
“I think we were definitely the better team tonight, but I guess it was just that little extra effort in goal-scoring that we probably could’ve used,” Craig senior captain Greta Hanthorn said. “Other than that, the effort was high.
“There were a ton of chances. There were times where you’re like, ‘This is going in,’ but then you’re like, ‘Oh no.’”
Hanthorn gave the Cougars the lead less than seven minutes into the match when she finished off a ball crossed into the box by junior Hannah Loertscher.
And yet, despite, outshooting West 25-8, Hanthorn’s goal proved to be the only one of the night for Craig.
“We had a hard time finishing,” Craig coach Bill McCabe said. “We had so many chances. We controlled the game. That’s the worst part. We controlled it, but if you can’t finish ...
“That’s been one of the things for us all year long: We’ll control games, and a team will get one shot at it, and they’ll capitalize on something.”
In six of their nine victories, the Cougars scored at least three goals. Out of their seven losses, though, they were shut out nine times. In the other two losses—including Tuesday—and a tie, Craig scored exactly one goal.
“We practiced really hard ... and everybody felt good about themselves,” McCabe said. “We felt we had a really good opportunity to put the ball away, but it just didn’t happen.”
West leveled the score in the 28th minute when sophomore Livi Boller finished off a free kick that landed amid a scrum in the box.
That 1-1 score held up through regulation despite several chances, including a Craig breakaway in the 60th minute. West’s Lissy Kettleson stopped that hard shot for one of her 11 saves.
It appeared Craig might catch a break early in overtime, when the Regents blasted an open shot square off the crossbar. But they were able to prevent the Cougars from clearing, and Thompson battled through the Craig defense to trickle a shot into the net.
The Cougars’ best chances to forge a tie from there both came on corner kicks. One glanced off the top of the crossbar, and Kettleson was able to corral another at the far post.
“I feel like we’ve had a difference between last year and this year with goal-scoring,” Hanthorn said. “Usually we come out with the result we deserve. But we maybe could’ve deserved to win tonight.”
WEST 2, CRAIG 1 (OT)
Madison West 1 0 1 0—2
Janesville Craig 1 0 0 0—1
JC—Greta Hanthorn (Hannah Loertscher), 6:32. MW—Livi Boller, 27:18.
MW—Quinlan Thompson, 93:26.
Saves—Lissy Kettleson (MW) 11, Maia Rowekamp (JC) 6.