The Wauwatosa East girls soccer team will go into the WIAA postseason tournament with a four-game winning streak.
The Red Raiders are a fifth seed, and they travel to No. 4 Nicolet for a 7 p.m. match Thursday, June 2. If they win, they will probably play top-seed Waukesha West on Saturday, June 4.
The Red Raiders won twice last week, defeating Hamilton, 2-1, at Sussex on May 24 and Franklin, 10-0, on May 26. They also played at Greendale on May 31 and shut out the Panthers, 7-0.
East got after the Franklin Sabers early and often in last Thursday's contest at Whitman Field, as they won by a convincing 10-0 score in 60 minutes of play.
Senior captain Kamrynn Lamontagne scored the Raiders' first goal in the second minute of the match with an assist from freshman midfielder Sydney Halstead. Sophomore Liz Bueckers scored two minutes later with the assist going to fellow sophomore Crosbie Kowalski.
In the 10th minute, Kowalski would score her own goal on an assist from senior captain Catherine Carter. Midfielder Evan Knauss would add an unassisted goal in the 18th minute to make the score 4-0. Bueckers would add two more goals in the 20th and 22nd minutes with assists going to sophomore Mariana Ibanez-Baldor and senior Lauren Minette.
In the 24th minute, sophomore Emma Martin would score her first career varsity goal off an assist from Ibanez-Baldor. Junior Karley Haar would finish off the first-half scoring, making it 8-0 on her goal in the 32nd minute with the assist going to senior midfielder Ali Herbst.
Bueckers collected her fourth goal of the match with an assist from Herbst in the 57th minute, notching her 14th goal of the season. The Raiders would finish the scoring onslaught in the 60th minute on a goal from Knauss, assisted by Kowalski.
'A lot of girls got a chance to see a lot of playing time tonight,' coach Eric Dale said. 'We had five injured players on the sideline in Lily Brock, Sarah Lessila, Riley Johnson, Chyna Sincere, and Jordyn Summerfield. It was nice to have an easy win and still play pretty well throughout with very little sloppiness.'
East girls easily played one of their most thrilling matches of the season on Thursday in Sussex as they closed out the conference schedule by beating the Chargers, 2-1.
'It's one of those character-building matches when you see a bunch of your teammates literally getting bloodied and bruised by physical play on both sides, and it came down to one team stepping up at a crucial moment. It really was an exciting victory for us,' Dale said.
Sussex Hamilton opened the scoring in the sixth minute of the match, when forward Isabel Downs converted a costly turnover into a breakaway run at goal. She was able to place the ball into the goal from about 14 yards out, putting the Raiders at an early deficit.
The score remained 1-0 until the 47th minute of the second half. Halstead collected the ball near midfield and made a 20-yard run in heavy traffic and slotted a ball through Sussex' back line. Leading scorer Bueckers was able to run onto the ball, take a few touches to goal and then placed a beautiful shot to the far post that tied the game for the Raiders.
'The kid (Halstead) has been a tremendous shot in the arm to our depth at central midfield,' Dale said. 'She certainly does not play like a freshman. She's strong on the ball, is fearless when challenging on tackles and sees the field like a seasoned veteran. Her through ball to Liz was a great example of field presence and game feel.'
Several players were featured in the last run at goal. Herbst was able to trigger a counter attack when she collected a Sussex missed pass in the Sussex defensive third. She played a ball wide to Lamontagne, who had started an overlapping run up the right sideline. Lamontagne played a one-touch pass through to Knauss, who was sprinting on to the 18-yard box to the left of the Charger keeper.
Knauss took two quick touches to the end line and played a cross into the box right at the 6-yard box. Timing her run perfectly, Kowalski cut across her defender, beat her to Knauss' serve and was able to blast the ball past the keeper into the right corner of the goal.
'This was one of those builds in which every pass and run had to be perfect,' Dale said. 'There was one minute remaining exactly when our counter started, and the end product was finished 11 seconds later. We strung three perfect passes together to get the win, and it was clearly our last push to goal.'