The Wauwatosa West girls soccer team won three of four matches last week with the highlight of the week coming in an emotional 2-1 victory over New Berlin West on May 10 at Whitman Field as the Trojans honored the Stadler family, whose father, Stas, was in a hospice with bladder cancer.
"The players were really excited to play and wanted to really dedicate their play to Stas Stadler," Tosa West coach Jon Gulrajani said. "This game that we love really combined with our community and many surrounding clubs to make a memorable evening for a very well-respected family. It was just a way for people to get together and share their passion for the game and help a family that has meant a great deal to Tosa West soccer.
"I have had the pleasure to coach all three Stadlers (Anna, Tim and Andrew) and you can see their parents have taught them to be humble, have respect for the game, be hardworking, faithful and carry a general kindness for others."
The match didn't start out well for the Trojans, as New Berlin West's Tina Bedwell scored 30 minutes into the match on a pass from Lexi Porter, taking a 1-0 lead into halftime.
"Credit New Berlin West, they really played hard defensively and their keeper made some great saves," Gulrajani said. "Anytime you don't finish chances you leave the door open and they converted on the first chance with a counter attack and great strike."
But the Trojans came back and scored on goals by Katelyn Hronek five minutes into the half to tie the game on a 20-yard rocket over the keeper. Megan Falk then hit a shot into the lower right corner of the net 20 minutes later after a great slotted ball from Anna Stadler.
"I am so proud of our players, Wauwatosa West, the soccer community, friends and the Stadler family," Gulrajani said. "The evening was a huge success and we helped raise over $13,000 for the family.
"This was a very emotional and physically draining night. Our players really wanted this game badly and did everything possible to make sure we came away with the win."
The Trojans used the emotions to get them going in the second half.
"I had a chance to thank the crowd, sponsors and the family at halftime," Gulrajani said. "When I came to address the team, players had tears running down their faces. We just regrouped and said let's go finish this the way we are capable of; leave it all on the field and play minute by minute.
"We responded extremely well."
On Falk's winning goal, Gulrajani said, "The keeper got a hand on it and it felt like the ball would never cross the goal line. We just felt a relief at the final whistle that we could end the night honoring the Stadler family with a hard-fought victory. As a coach and a fan of this game I will never forget this night."
Going into this week, Wauwatosa West still led the Woodland Conference standings with an 8-0-1 record and a 10-5-2 overall mark.
The Trojans defeated two league opponents to open the week - Whitnall, 4-0, on May 8 and then the Vikings, both games at Whitman Field. They then finished the week with a 1-1 mark at the Waunakee Quad on Friday and Saturday.
Natasha DeAsis scored two goals and an assist while Jenna Engel had a goal and two assists in the win over Whitnall.
The Trojans then split two matches at the Waunakee Quad, beating Madison Edgewood, 3-0, on Friday and losing, 4-1, to the host Warriors on Saturday as Alyssa Heyer scored West's only goal.
Against Edgewood, Heyer scored at 22 minutes and then two minutes later assisted on a Hronek goal into the upper left corner. Stadler scored the final goal on a 25-yard strike into the top left corner with five minutes to play.
"I was concerned on how we would respond after the emotion from the night before, but we just talked to the players and said the weight has been lifted, go out and have fun," Gulrajani said. "I thought we really played well as a team and handled a very good Madison Edgewood team. We were able to finish some early chances and it helped us control the game."
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