The girls lacrosse team held off a second half rally by the Brookfield co-op team to win a tense 15-14 game Tuesday at USM. As a result, the Wildcats improved their record to 5-1.
The early part of the game was close, and the two teams exchanged goals often. Brookfield opened the scoring at 20:32 on a goal by Annie Kuse. Just after the ensuing draw, USM’s Ali Robinson tied it with a goal at 20:03. Less than a minute later Meredith Jeffers gave USM the lead scoring at 19:16. But Brookfield’s Grace Barlow soon tied it once more with an unassisted goal at 18:54.
The scored see sawed after that. USM went ahead at 16:50 on a goal by Katherine Engman. Brookfield’s leading scorer, Morgan Hollowell then got into the act, tying the score with the first of her 10 goals in the game at 12:12.
“As a defensive unit we had some trouble stopping their number one attacker, Morgan Hollowell, who is one of the best attackers in the state,” USM’s coach Samantha Adey said.
Robinson put USM in front again with a goal at 9:51. Hollowell tied it at 6:34.
USM finally got some breathing room, scoring the final two goals of the half. At 2:15 Kelly Brethauer, the Wildcats’ leading scorer got one, and at 0:29 Engman scored her second goal of the game to give USM a 6-4 halftime lead.
"Katherine was outstanding at midfield with six ground ball controls and three goals," Adey said. "She was integral in our midfield transition. Kelly Brethauer had another great offensive game."
Brethauer opened the scoring in the second half when she sprinted in and fired a shot right off the draw to give USM a 7-4 lead at 24:52. Hollowell scored her third goal but Robinson, off a great crossing pass by Jeffers, kept USM’s lead at three.
Hollowell notched her fourth at 18:32, then Jeffers fed Robinson once again at 17:34.
“Ali Robinson played her best game of the season scoring five goals, and Meredith played an outstanding game as well," Adey said. "She played great offense and great defense and scooped up every ground ball that came near her. She ended up with a ton of fantastic plays.”
Riley Kelly scored at 17:07 to give USM a 10-6 cushion. Brookfield soon made it close, scoring three of the game’s next four goals. Hollowell had two and Erica Engstrand had one for Brookfield. Engman had the goal for USM.
With USM clutching to an 11-9 lead, Brethauer scored two goals in nine seconds to give USM a wider margin at 12:27. Then Hollowell notched two more for Brookfield. Alexis Agisian and Engstrand score two more, and the game was tied with 8:12 to go.
Brethauer and Robinson scored to make it 15-13. Hollowell’s goal at 3:33 tightened the score with plenty of time for either team to surge to victory.
“The most important thing to think about in close games, particularly when you have someone like Hollowell who seems to score at will, is one, shut her down enough so that she can't score anymore and two, focus on every little detail on your end so that you can come out on top," USM’s assistant coach Erin Cermak said. "That was exactly what we did at the end of the game. In those last two minutes we were very controlled and calm, which is impressive for any team.”
In the game Brookfield played two goalies. Aliya Manjee played the first half and stopped six of USM’s attempts. Jenna Bale made 5 saves in the second half to give Brookfield a total of 11. USM’s goalkeeper Ivy McKee made 12 saves during the game. Adey noted Mckee’s work, “Ivy McKee also had some huge saves near the end of the game to pull out the win.”
“We have practice Wednesday and then we have four games in a row," Adey said. "First is home versus Oconomowoc; Friday is home versus Kettle Moraine, Monday is away at Brookfield and Tuesday is away at Waukesha.”
The Wildcats play the game against Oconomowoc at 5 p.m. Thursday at USM.