Panthers fall in battle for state berth

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


Left: SAM MEYER, Plymouth goalie, snags a direct kick by a Green Bay Notre Dame player during Saturday’s sectional soccer finals. Notre Dame’s Laken Anderson (18) goes for the ball. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley Left: SAM MEYER, Plymouth goalie, snags a direct kick by a Green Bay Notre Dame player during Saturday’s sectional soccer finals. Notre Dame’s Laken Anderson (18) goes for the ball. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley WINNECONNE – The Plymouth Panthers gave perennial powerhouse Green Bay Notre Dame all it could handle before falling, 2-1, in a hard fought Division 3 girls sectional soccer championship match here Saturday afternoon.

The Tritons, ranked No. 2 in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association D-3 poll, improved to 15-5-1 and advance to the state tournament semifinals Friday versus Belleville/New Glarus at 7 p.m. at the Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

PHS, ranked No. 7 in D-3, ended an outstanding season at 16-2-2. The Panthers played in their second straight sectional final.

“We definitely brought it physically. We had a nice game. I’m proud of the girls,” said Panther head coach Brad Feick.

“Obviously, we hate to lose but we fought hard. I felt as if we left everything on the field and have everything to be proud of.”

Laken Anderson’s goal off a corner kick by Trudy Quidzinski with less than a minute remaining in the first half was the eventual game-winner as it gave the Tritons a 2-1 halftime lead.

Notre Dame seized a 1-0 lead only 1:43 into the match when Grace Shaw rocketed a shot into the net from about 18 yards out.

The Panthers bounced back strong. They had the ball in the Tritons’ defensive half of the field for about 25 minutes in the opening half. PHS tied the game on an outstanding shot by senior midfielder/forward Ellie Welsch at the 26:55 mark. Welsch’s long-range ball went over goalkeeper Alana Bergin, bounced off the crossbar and across the goal line.

Feick explained how Welsch’s goal was set up.

“Addie Plate was able to maintain control of the ball for about a third of the field. She was able to get the ball then to Sydney Robinson who laid the ball back to Ellie. Ellie floated a shot into the left corner of the goal. It was a beautiful ball that put us right back in the game,” he said.

Robinson was credited with an assist.

Notre Dame came out strong in the second half and had possession of the ball a majority of the half. The Tritons’ quick, aggressive defense allowed few attacks by PHS in the final half.

“In the second half, we couldn’t connect passes as well as we wanted to and couldn’t get the ball into spaces that proved dangerous very often,” Feick pointed out.

“I think we got a little tired in the second half. We had some [scoring] opportunities late but not enough.”

In the second half PHS had two decent scoring chances. One was after a scramble in near the goal but PHS was unable to attempt a clean shot. Late in the match Carly Lilek shot from about 20 yards out but the ball was right to Bergin who made the save.

Notre Dame led 7-4 in shots on goal. PHS senior goalie Sam Meyer made five saves and Bergin had three.

“We did a much better job of possession in the second half. We kept the ball moving which didn’t allow them to get their offense started,” said Triton head coach Bob Richards.

“It’s huge to get back to state. I’m really happy for them [players]”

Notre Dame’s seniors played at state in 2015 and 2016.

“The first two minutes were a little shaky but we had a chance to regroup, and we had a lot of good passing and moving. Once we got in that rhythm we started to connect [passes] and get an advantage for us,” said Welsch.

“There’s nothing to be sad about. We put it all out there. We put up a good fight,” said Robinson, a senior forward.

“When you’re playing against a good team, those opportunities [to score] aren’t always there. I think we played one of our best games of the season.”

Feick thought Savannah Wiese, Dallas Kriesa, Josie Bender and Meyer played outstanding defense for PHS.


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