In a game played during a hard rainfall Thursday, the boys’ soccer team defeated Kettle Moraine Lutheran 4-1 in the WIAA Division 3 state tournament Sectional 4 Regional Final.
The weather did not seem to hinder the play of the Wildcats. Their head coach Jason Rienzi said, "We played possibly our best soccer of the season." He complimented his defensive players for their tight marking and quick clears and said, “We scored some good goals. I love winning, especially when we do it by playing good soccer."
The Wildcats started their scoring at 25:12 when sophomore defenseman Jason Seter stepped up, took the ball from a Kettle Moraine forward and fired a cross-field diagonal pass toward the right post. USM sophomore Sam Bernstein ran toward the descending ball, turned his foot to meet it on the inside, and then snapped a low shot into the net.
There was no more scoring in the first half, but during the halftime break Rienzi told the Wildcats, “We're dominating this game. Keep playing this way. I know the goals will come."
The USM players proved him right early in the second half. Sophomore Isaac Schlenker brought the ball down the left side and moved the ball to the right to senior Josh Baker. Baker powered past two defenders and fired a shot past the Chargers' junior goalie Stuart Rosenthal at 47:13.
The Chargers tightened the scoring gap at 53:29 when senior Austin Bublitz lined a cross to senior Sean Esenberg in the low penalty area and Esenberg headed the ball beyond the reach of USM's sophomore goalkeeper Jack Wells for the score.
The Wildcats seemed to dismiss the defensive miscue and quickly went back ahead by two. On a corner play Schlenker sent a cross into the goalie box, and Baker leaped to head it in at 55:32.
USM sealed the victory with another goal at 76:06. Baker got the ball along the left side. Like a bull running at Pamplona, he charged through two defenders. Nearing the corner, he centered a pass to sophomore Nico Dermond. Dermond tipped the ball toward Rosenthal. The ball slipped off the keeper's fingers and skittered to Schlenker. He took a quick touch then knocked the ball over the diving keeper.
The loss ended Kettle Moraine Lutheran's season with a 12-9-2 record. USM is now 15-1-2. The third-seeded Wildcats advance in the Sectional and will play their next at The Prairie School, the sectional's second seed, in Racine at 4 p.m. On Oct. 20.