Top-ranked Grafton ends Warhawks soccer season in 2-1 thriller
Crucial penalty kick save huge in tight game
Germantown - Sophomore forward Jamie Karch connected on a beautiful setup from senior midfielder Carly Vogel to give Germantown an early 1-0 lead, but the Warhawks were unable to hold off host Grafton, falling 2-1 in the WIAA Division 1 girls sectional game June 9.
After Grafton was whistled for tripping freshman forward Madeline Tetzke, Karch tucked Vogel's free kick past the keeper at 19:30 for the early advantage.
However the top-ranked in state and North Shore Conference champion Blackhawks (22-2-3) would respond less than a minute later, as junior forward Hannah Eichler dashed down the right side of the field and centered to junior midfielder Emma Fatla, who tapped in the tying goal just beyond diving Warhawks keeper Lauren Meyer to make it 1-1 at 20:20.
Grafton girls head coach Don Arnold was pleased with the response of his team after falling behind early.
"That goal was huge. It really gave us confidence and took the pressure off the girls," Arnold said.
After a handball was whistled against Germantown just outside of their goalkeeper box, Fatla added her second goal on a free kick past a wall of Warhawks defenders to put Grafton up for good at 34:45.
"We built our philosophy all season on hard work, getting to 50-50 balls, and they outworked us in the first half," said Germantown head soccer coach Paul Sikinger.
Germantown (13-5-1) would respond with more energy after halftime and had several excellent chances to draw even, but just couldn't cash in for the tying goal.
A turning point in the game came when senior forward Erin Warren was tripped on a point-blank shot attempt, leading to a penalty kick at 67:30. Grafton goalkeeper Alissa Viste made an acrobatic save on Vogel's ensuing shot to preserve the lead, guessing correctly to deflect Vogel's shot aimed at the top left corner of the goal for the critical stop.
"She stepped up and made a huge save," Arnold said. "I think we got a little tired in the second half. They pushed forward and forced us to chase more but we knew it was going to be a huge battle."
Germantown's last best chance at drawing even came when Warren's drive at 69:30 blasted the left post and missed tying the game by inches.
"We came out in the second half and our energy and hard work created some opportunities for us. But we just couldn't find the net," Sikinger said.
Germantown loses four seniors (including Vogel, Warren, Samantha Wallace and Sheehan Siegman) but returns a total of 15 freshmen and sophomores toughened from competing in a conference that featured two of the top-ranked teams in the state entering the tournament.
"It's a learning experience. Losing stinks but sometimes you need to go through that to learn how to win," Sikinger said. "That's not an excuse, though. Grafton is a great team."
Grafton advanced to play Cedarburg (15-3-1) on Saturday at Brookfield East in a WIAA sectional final with a berth in this week's WIAA state tournament on the line.
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