Huskies edge Tigers in epic battle for state berth

by Craig Hoffman Tri-County News

KRISTA HACKBARTH (14) of Howards Grove and Laiken Meyer, New Holstein, collide going for the ball in Saturday’s sectional soccer finals. — Photo by Terry Schaller KRISTA HACKBARTH (14) of Howards Grove and Laiken Meyer, New Holstein, collide going for the ball in Saturday’s sectional soccer finals. — Photo by Terry Schaller NEW HOLSTEIN – It took 141 minutes in the New Holstein- Howards Grove girls soccer series for someone to score a goal. But that’s alright as far as the Huskies are concerned.

Danielle Brenner scored on a penalty kick, 42 seconds into the second overtime and it gave top-seeded New Holstein a 1-0 win over the Howards Grove Tigers in the championship match of the Division 4 sectional Saturday evening at New Holstein High School.

The two had played last month at the Kiel Invitational where they played to a scoreless tie.

The win sends the Huskies to the state tournament where they will open play Thursday at noon in Milwaukee’s Uihlein Soccer Park where they will face Racine St. Catherine’s.

The Huskies last went to state in 2011 when they lost 1-0 to Wisconsin Rapids Assumption in the semifinals with just seven seconds left. New Holstein won the Division 3 state title in 2010.

“It’s unfortunate a game like this comes down to a penalty kick, but that’s the way it goes sometimes,” said Tiger head coach Todd Fischer whose team was also a No. 1 regional seed. “We had our opportunities and we didn’t capitalize.”

New Holstein heads to state with a 17-3-3 record with their last defeat coming way back on April 29, a 1-0 loss at Eastern Wisconsin Conference champion Plymouth. The Huskies finished second to the Panthers.

Howards was looking for its first ever trip to state and saw its tremendous season come to an end with an 18-4-2 record.

A strong southeasterly wind was the biggest factor and it played havoc on both teams.

The Huskies’ Lexi Peterson and Karli Fannin both had shots that hit the post, only to bounce back onto the field of play. For the Tigers, Kaitlyn Near had their best scoring opportunity – taking a crossing pass in the second half from Allison Schmid that found its way through the Husky defense to a wideopen Near on the weak side. Near’s shot caught the wind and sailed above the head of NH goalie Alicia Kahl.

So after 80 minutes of scoreless regulation play and 10 minutes of one overtime period, New Holstein went into the wind in the second overtime. After trying all game to get speedy Laiken Meyer on a breakaway, the Huskies finally got the chance on their first possession of the second extra frame.

Meyer got taken down inside the 18-yard box and a foul was called on the Tigers, resulting in a penalty kick.

But it wasn’t Meyer doing the kick, rather, it was Brenner.

“NH coach Nate Laabs said that he knew right away who would take the shot.

“Danielle has never missed a game for us in her four years with us and she’s as veteran as you can get,” said Laabs.

Calm and collected, Brenner sailed her shot to the right of Tiger freshman goalie Olivia Strauss for a score that sent the Huskies to state for the fifth time in school history.

“I’ve been the one taking penalty kicks all season, so I stayed pretty calm,” said Brenner, who played on the 2011 state team.

Laabs also praised Kahl for another outstanding game as goalie.

“She made some outstanding saves. Howards Grove is one of the best teams we have faced and she was up to the challenge again,” he said.

The Tigers led 10-5 in shots on goal. Stauss made four saves and Kahl had 10.



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