Notre Dame ousts Falcons in finals

by Steve Ottman

KIEL – The Green Bay Notre Dame Tritons scored two early goals on the way to a 4-1 victory over the Sheboygan Falls Falcons in a WIAA Division 2 girls soccer sectional final playoff game at Kiel Saturday, June 6.

Falls finishes the season 19-4 overall. With the victory, Notre Dame (18-6-3 overall) advanced to the WIAA Division 2 state semifinal game to face Waukesha Catholic Central.

The Tritons and Falcons met in the sectional finals in 2007, with Green Bay taking a similar 4-1 win. However, Tritons coach Bob Rickards felt this time was different.

“We didn’t know that much about Falls this time,” said Rickards. “We were cautious at first, but after the first goal, the girls got the nervousness off.”

Falcons coach Brian Mentink was happy with the season overall.

“I felt our team played as well as it could,” Mentink stated. They got off to a fast start and we didn’t recover. Our girls played their hearts out.”

Falls played relaxed, passed the ball well and found the open spots in the early going, but that changed quickly, as Tritons forward Abigail Neumeyer got past the Falcon defenders and flipped a kick over the outstretched arms of Falcons sophomore goalie Lilly Rotter.

Neumeyer’s goal gave Notre Dame a 1-0 lead, two minutes into the first period.

Notre Dame made it 2-0 when Katie Sturzl scored on a breakaway at the 16:57 mark.

That is when the similarities to the 2007 began to show through. In that game, the Falcons played on a wet field that seemed to affect their play.

That year Falls lost one of its key players in Rae Henning to an ankle injury in the first half.

This year the Falcons lost captain Hannah Meyer to an ankle injury in the first half of play.

However, Falls played through like champions, as senior starters Claudia Neiman, Sydney Albrecht, Katie Herman and Steph Hasler gave it everything they could.

Hasler and Albrecht played the entire game. Both said they felt obligated to the team and Meyer, because of her dedication and leadership.

Neiman and Herman took just a short breather in the second half, before re-entering.

“We really played as hard as we could. We owed it to the team,” said Neiman.

The Falcons gave up two more goals before the end of the first half. Notre Dame’s Mackenzie Klingert scored on a pass from Megan Brockman. Then Emily Kaufmann added a goal to lift the Tritons to a 4-0 lead.

Falls came back tough, subbing senior Cassie Spoerl, junior Marie Kettler and sophomore Abby Debbink for the injured Meyer in attempt to keep the team fresh.

Defenders Albrecht, Neiman, junior Brianna Nack and freshman Kelly Jens made it point to keep the Triton offense off the board in the second half.

Late in the second half, Herman netted a moral-boosting goal at the 76-minute mark, to make the final score 4-1.

“When Hannah went down we wanted to keep fighting for her,” said Hasler.

“We never gave up,” said Herman. “We knew how bad she felt, not being able to be out there with us.”

Albrecht summed up the season, giving credit to Notre Dame.

“They had a lot of nice passes and got past us, putting pressure on our goalie,” Albrecht explained. “Our defense played as well as it did all year. We had a great season.”

The Falcon defense showed its mettle by notching a 7-0 shutout victory over Kewaskum in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal game Thursday, June 4, in Sheboygan Falls.

The Falcons held Kewaskum to one shot in the first half and three overall.

Herman scored her third career hat trick and second of the season to lead the Falcons in scoring. Meyer, Neiman, Hasler and Kettler also added goals for Falls.

Herman had two quick scores, one on an assist from Hasler to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead 20 minutes into the first half.

Just before the end of the first half, Meyer made it 3-0 on a booming line drive from a free kick from the outside corner of the 18-yard line.

Neiman got into the scoring act when she sent a long kick from over 30 yards out past the Indians goalie to push the Falcons ahead 4-0 at the 42-minute mark.

Herman scored her third goal of the game two minutes later.

Hasler then connected for a goal at 65-minute mark, sailing a shot high into the right side of the goal. The last score came when Kettler slipped past a Kewaskum defender.

In five seasons under Mentink’s guidance, the Falcons have won three regional titles, captured two sectional semifinal match victories and have compiled a remarkable 83-24-3 overall record for a .775

winning percentage.

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