Eventual state qualifier Waukesha West had to survive a tense 2-1 win over Wauwatosa West on Oct. 26 in the WIAA Division 2 soccer sectional semifinal in Waukesha.
A well-contested first half ended 0-0, with both sides putting pressure on defense. In the 28th minute, Wauwatosa West's Monroe Phillips sent in a corner kick that was headed on goal but saved low by Wolverines goalie German Ferreira. Only a minute later, the Trojans had issues clearing the ball out of their box, and after being headed into the air, the ball nearly bounced into the Wauwatosa West goal only to be saved on the line by Collin Sieglaff.
“I thought the first half, we were a little bit hectic,” Waukesha West coach Marcel Feenstra said. “It was a little bit a thousand-miles-an-hour from both teams. I told them to calm down a little bit, play a little more on the ground, and I think in the second half, we started doing that, and then I thought we dominated more.”
The first breakthrough came midway through the second half. Sieglaff had made another impressive save on an angled shot from Waukesha’s Erich Legut just two minutes earlier. Then, in the 58th minute, Sieglaff came off his line to save low, but the ball rebounded out and right into Legut’s path, who sent the ball emphatically into the Wauwatosa West goal.
“I just saw him come out,” Legut said, “and he made the save. I saw it, reacted quickly, and went up for it. It was very important because if I didn’t score that, then the outcome could have been different. If I didn’t react to that ball, we might not have won the game.”
Waukesha West doubled its lead 5 minutes later on a mid-range strike from Sam Bruggink.
"I turned around on my right foot and I hit it with an outside bend and it went in the bottom corner," Bruggink said.
Legut added, “I think it definitely was a momentum thing. After we got that one, we were hyped. I feel like the momentum definitely changed.”
“We dropped off too much,” Wauwatosa West coach Ryan Bailey said. “We were just defending too much, we weren’t winning those second balls that we wanted to, and they’ve got guys that are special who are really technical with the ball. They shot the first one that was kind of a scramble. Colin made a great save, and the guy tucked it side net. Second one was just ball in, we let him turn, and then that half chance was all he needed, and he buried it far corner.”
The Trojans got themselves back into the match on a great individual effort by Phillip Fobair, who intercepted a goal kick and calmly slotted the ball into the far corner on the resulting one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
"They’re on their backup keeper and we said we’ve got to test them," Bailey said. "Phil was there, got it, was ready but he was also calm finishing it. We had 17 minutes, and it was game on, we just couldn’t get that second one.”
Wauwatosa West will move into a new-look Greater Metro Conference next season, which will include some of the best programs in the state.
“These seniors are going to be missed,” said Bailey. “I’ve had them for four years. They won the conference last year and they won a regional this year. They really elevated our program, and now these guys just have to make sure that they step up and they want to continue that tradition.”
Waukesha West defeated Pewaukee two days later to get to state.
“This is a tough team,” Feenstra said. “They work hard, they’re physical, and they’re really direct, so overall I’m really happy with it. At this moment, every game is a do or die game. All the high school guys understand that if you lose, you’re done. No one wants to be done; everybody wants to go to state.”