Wauwatosa West coach Jon Gulrajani's first season as a head coach was a successful one. Actually, more than successful.
The Trojans were 14-5-2 overall and shared the Woodland Conference title with New Berlin Eisenhower (10-0-1). It was their third championship in four years and seventh out of the last eight years.
"I am very pleased with our overall season record," Gulrajani said. "Our progression throughout the season was tremendous. You always want to be playing your best soccer when you get to the playoffs and we certainly were. The last game will have lasting memory."
The Trojans dropped a 1-0 decision in overtime to top-ranked-in-state Brookfield East on June 5 in the regional championship game.
"We played the best team in the state and we had great chances to win the game," Gulrajani said. (We were) just a bit unlucky they finished off a chance in overtime. As a coach it's hard to be happy with a loss, but this was a performance that sets the bar for the future."
"Our leadership was great. We had three phenomenal captains (Jackie Glaser, Jessica Allemang, Eva Popp) and six other seniors that finished their careers at their best. We will miss them and wish them the best luck at the next level."
Despite having nine seniors, Gulrajani was happy with the team's make-up.
"I think our team mix was strong," he said. "We had representation from each class and it bodes well for our program moving forward."
As a first-year head coach, Gulrajani came in and added his system, moving players to the places he felt they would perform at the highest level.
"I am really excited because from day one the kids adapted to the situation and improved each game," he said. "In high school soccer the main goal is to keep consistency with your players and raise their play throughout the season."
Gulrajani went out of his way to praise senior goalkeeper Rachel Gerlach.
"I have worked with goalkeepers for a long time and Rachel Gerlach is one of the best in the state," he said. "She has raised her game each year and she ended on the highest level. Her performance was simply amazing against Brookfield East. It closes the book well for a senior goalkeeper."
Joining Glaser, Allemang, Popp and Gerlach in the senior class were Kayla Jeffery, Chelsea Colebourne, Jenny Budzien, Hannah Fuhrman and Molly Boyle.
Gulrajani praised his large senior class.
"All of our seniors had their strongest performance of their careers and that truly is the way you want to go out," he said. "As a coach you look ahead and I am very excited at the talent we have returning and the direction this program is heading."
"It has always been a solid program but my job is to continue to raise the level each year."
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