In a game featuring several near-misses, one accurate blast propelled Germantown to another WIAA sectional final.
Behind a 23rd minute rocket off of the foot of senior Kayla Schlosser and an offense that controlled possession throughout the majority of the game, host Germantown outlasted North Shore Conference rival Homestead, 1-0, in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal June 12.
With her back to the goal, Schlosser took a pass and, off of one dribble, spun and unleashed a ferocious drive past Homestead goalkeeper Kelli Ausman midway through the first half to stake the Warhawks (14-5) to a 1-0 lead. The ball caromed off of the top goalpost before settling into the goal for the early advantage.
"I saw I had an open shot and just took a chance on it," said Schlosser. "This is a rivalry game, and we are both physical teams, but once we settled down and took a couple of hits, we were able to keep possession. We had good movement off the ball, which helped us out a lot."
The Warhawks eventually lost a heartbreaking 2-1 WIAA sectional final decision to DSHA on June 14.
After the physical start that saw both teams split possession, Germantown began to assume control, testing Homestead's Ausman with a long drive from senior Paige Blankenheim off of a free kick and a shot by Schlosser that went just left of goal in the early going. Following Schlosser's conversion, Germantown continued to control the ball throughout the first half as Homestead (14-6-2) struggled to generate solid scoring opportunities.
"The first goal calmed our nerves," said Germantown head coach Paul Sikinger. "We were able to move the ball from side to side, hold possession, and wear them down. Our senior backline did a good job of closing off passing lanes and keeping them from hitting anything over the top."
Germantown nearly made it 2-0 just a minute into the second half, as senior Maddie Tetzke flew through the Homestead defense and hit the crossbar on her shot attempt.
"Germantown's positioning and timing was really good. Their forwards moved into the midfield and really connected their passes well," said Homestead head coach Rich Dorn. "Our defenders adjusted in the second half, and we did a better job, but the problem was that they already had the lead."
Homestead started to show signs of life after halftime as they looked for the equalizer. Their best chance at tying the score came in the 65th minute, when sophomore Alex Lutz pushed her shot just left of goal. Junior Christine Kerkman got her foot on the ball off of a corner kick in the 74th minute, but couldn't get enough heat on it to get it by Germantown goalkeeper Piper Brown, who snuffed out Homestead's last best chance to tie the score.
"Our girls played with great heart and determination in the second half, creating three or four great opportunities. But Germantown kept getting in the way," said Dorn. "We were just inches away tonight. My girls left it all on the field, and that is all I can ask."
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