To say that the Red Raiders (10-6-3) experienced a whirlwind of emotions during their match against Brookfield East May 17 on Tuesday at Whitman Field would be 'the grossest understatement of the year,' according to coach Eric Dale.
When the dust settled, the Raiders would be turned away by the Spartans by a score of 4-2 in one of the strangest matches Dale has ever been a part of.
'We absolutely dominated the first half of the game. We were pressing them the entire half, we controlled the midfield, we contained (Ari) Banks and (Abby) Gregg, and all things seemed to be pointing to a victory,' he said. 'And then, our leader went down in a heap in penalty box, and it felt like air escaping from a vacuum after that.'
Tosa East's team leader, Lily Brock, senior goalkeeper and captain, was injured on a noncontact play in the East penalty area when going to retrieve a ball at the top of the box. 'When I went out to see what was going on, Lily was a little more frantic and agitated then I've ever seen her. She did her best to remain calm, but she also told Gail and me that she heard a 'crack' when she fell down.'
Brock is awaiting an MRI result, but after seeing an orthopedic doctor Wednesday, he confirmed that her MCL is torn and it's likely that her ACL is also torn. The Raiders will wait to see what the results are, but no matter what, the loss is a big one for the team.
The Raiders opened scoring in the fifth minute when senior captain Kamrynn LaMontagne slotted a perfect through ball to sophomore Liz Bueckers running on to goal. Bueckers converted the shot from 10 yards out, notching her eighth goal of the season.
In the 25th minute, sophomore Mariana Ibanez-Baldor stepped up to add East's second goal of the match when she blasted a shot from 22 yards out at the top of the box with a nice dropoff match from Bueckers for the assist.
Despite a long talk at halftime about trying to remain focused after Brock's injury, it was apparent that Brookfield East was going to amp up the pressure by serving long balls over the top to senior attacker Gregg.
The onslaught proved too much for the Tosa East defense. Gregg would score three breakaway chances at goal, putting the Spartans up 3-2 by the 66th minute in the match.
'Abby Gregg is an absolute thorn in our side,' Dale said. 'She has been now for two seasons. She's fast, she's strong, she has a determination to win the ball, and she's very poised when finishing.'
The Spartans would add a fourth and final goal in the 87th minute to put the game away.
'I'd have to say we managed to play both our best and worst halves of soccer in the same match,' Dale said. 'That rarely happens in sports, but I saw it firsthand tonight.'
The Tosa East varsity girl's soccer team notched another impressive nonconference victory Friday night, handing state-ranked Cedarburg a rare home loss, 2-1.
Both teams played to a scoreless first half, but the Raiders would get on the board early in the second half. In the 46th minute, senior forward Chyna Sincere beat her defender to the end line and served a left-footed cross on the ground to a waiting Bueckers at the 8-yard line directly in front of the goal mouth. Bueckers got on to the serve with her left foot and the first touch, placing it in the far right side netting.
'Chyna probably played her best half of soccer Friday night in the second half,' Dale said. 'She was all over the field creating havoc. When she is at her best is when she is pressuring the defenders in their third of the field. She has a tenacity and competitive edge about her at times that makes our team that much better. And she and Liz hooked up for a beautiful goal.'
Five minutes later, East would go ahead 2-0 when sophomore Elyse Reagan served a dead ball into the box from about 40 yards out. Sincere would beat the Cedarburg goalkeeper to the ball and flick the ball with her head over the top of the defense and into the back of the net from 10 yards out for a 2-0 lead. East held off the Bulldogs to win, 2-1.