Tigers drop two in tough quadrangular

BROOKFIELD – The Howards Grove Tigers battled two of the top Division 4 girls soccer teams in the state but came up shy in both matches at Saturday’s 11th Annual Brookfield Academy Bash quadrangular.

In their opener, the Tigers lost to Brookfield Academy, 2-0, after the game was deadlocked 0-0 at halftime. The Blue Knights are ranked No. 1 in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association D-4 poll.

In its second match, HGHS lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to La Crosse Aquinas. The Blugolds, the defending D-4 state champions and ranked No. 5 in D-4, scored two goals in the final three minutes to pull out the win. Both games had 30-minute halves instead of 45.

“This was a new experience for our girls playing against the best teams in D-4 and we stood toe to toe with both teams today,” said Tiger head coach Kasey Smith.

In the Aquinas match, Katie Koker scored the game-winning goal with only 10 seconds left. The Blu- golds tied the game, 1-1, on a goal by Koker with three minutes left.

HGHS took a 1-0 halftime lead on freshman defender Kayla Bender’s goal at the 12:23 mark in the first half, assisted by Katie Guse.

“We gave this game away at the very end. We made a few small mistakes at the very end and a good team will make you pay,” said Smith whose team is 2-2 on the season.

“It was a pretty good feeling having the lead on them but we learned some lessons about closing it out at the end. The girls have to understand the positives that came out of this weekend of soccer.

“It was tough to lose two games but I feel this tourney preps us much more for the rest of this season and we will have plenty to refer back to during training sessions,” said Smith.

The Blugolds led 7-3 in shots on goal. Tiger goalie Olivia Stauss made five saves.

HG-BROOKFIELD GAME

The Blue Knights’ goals came from Serena Shah and Abigail Schlosser in the second half at the 32:56 and 43:10 marks, respectively. Anika Washburn assisted on Shah’s goal.

Brookfield led 13-6 in shots on goal. Stauss was credited with 11 saves.

“Brittany Schaller [junior forward] was a major factor for us today. She stepped back to stopper at times and played up front as well,” said Smith.

“Ashley Reinemann [junior defender] also had just an awesome day in both games. She helped shut down several dangerous passes to forwards and was a key in organizing our back line.

“Olivia Stauss made some great saves to keep the score close [against Brookfield] and clearly was a difference maker against a team that has a powerful offense,” the coach pointed out.


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