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Girls Soccer vs. Milwaukee Audubon

The University School girls’ soccer team began the WIAA Division 4 state tournament playoffs with a dominant defeat of Milwaukee Audubon. The Wildcats took only 51 minutes to defeat the Cardinals 10-0 in the opening regional game of the Prairie School Sectional.  The game between the sectional’s seventh seed, USM, and the tenth seeded Milwaukee Audubon squad was played at USM on Thursday, May 30th.

The Wildcats improved their record to 8-4-1 with the win. They did not allow the Cardinals to take a shot, turning their goalkeeper, Lana Stone, into just another spectator as she watched and saw her teammates keep the ball in the Audubon side of the field and take 21 shots in the lopsided contest. She also saw them score.

USM scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal just 46 seconds into the match.  Nolee Xiong hustled toward the right side with the ball, then crossed it into the middle.  Stephanie Guy put her foot into it, making the ball slide along the ground and get past Indida Tinoco, the Cardinals starting goalie.

Guy scored again at 6:35. Aidanne DePoy won the ball and passed it to Guy.  Guy moved around a defender and booted a low shot into the netting to give USM a 2-0 lead.  

Guy gained her hat-trick a few minutes later on a penalty kick at 9:00.

DePoy and Guy combined on USM’s fourth goal.  From the midfield area, DePoy sent the ball ahead to Guy who was facing back toward her at the edge of the Cardinals’ 18 yard box.  Guy passed the ball to the side as DePoy ran past her, collecting the ball as she did.  DePoy maneuvered around two defenders then kicked.  The ball hopped along the grass like a bunny on the loose and bounced inside the goal post at 11:32.  

Good defense led to USM’s fifth goal.  Sydney Jones pickpocketed the ball away from a defender just outside the Audubon 18.   She dribbled away. She maneuvered past another defender before booming a shot past Tinoco at 24:40.

USM made it 6-0 on a similar play at 26:06.  Grace Watkins caught an opponent napping, and like a good thief, swiped the ball from her foot.  Watkins took off like a train on a fast track toward the net. She fired, and she scored.

Guy scored her fourth goal of the game, and USM’s seventh, when she leaped and headed in a crossing pass from Xiong at 27:33.  

Watkins set up USM’s next goal.  USM was awarded another penalty kick.  Watkins stepped to the line and took the kick.  The ball rang off the goal post and dropped in front of the net.  Guy rushed to it, and fired again.  Tinoco made the save, knocking the ball to the side.  USM’s Tunmi Omoloja had moved in and she booted the rebound into the goal at 34:40.  

After the goal, Watkins smiled and admitted, “We practiced PKs yesterday.  I made each one. Glad this one turned into a goal for Tunmi.”

8-0 was the score at halftime.  The Cardinals replaced Tinoco with Neisha Thompson in goal to start the second half.

It didn’t take the Wildcats long to test the new opposing goalie.  Gracie Gridley put on a one-woman show to score the Wildcats’ next goal.  She captured a loose ball in the midfield along the left side.  She popped it past one defender and ran after it.  She won a battle for it with two other defenders, and slipped past them. She sped toward the net and blasted a shot past Thompson at 48:52.

USM ended the game early by scoring the next goal and taking a ten-goal lead.  Kala Siddalingaiah stopped a clear outside the 18 yard box and fired.  The rebound careened to Guy who buried the next shot at 51:43. 

Peter Sanger, USM’s head coach, assessed the game, “Today's match went as well as could be expected. We've been talking about playing to our potential, regardless of the opponent, and the importance of starting playoff games on the front foot. We were successful on both fronts. We pressed Audubon high up the field, scored early, and maintained that pressure for the duration of the match.” 

The Wildcats’ win moved them further into the playoffs.  They face a tougher challenge in their next match.  They take on Brookfield Academy, the sectional’s second seed.  In their previous encounter on May 1st, the Blue Knights beat USM 4-0. 

The two teams resume their rivalry in a WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal match scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 1st at Brookfield Academy. 

Sanger discussed the upcoming game, “Clearly, Saturday will be a much sterner test, but if we can bring the same mentality and focus, we're confident in our ability to get a good result. Playing BA again provides us with another opportunity to measure our progression this season after we played hard, but were soundly defeated 4-0 earlier in the season. Now it's up to us to show how much we've grown as a team since then and go there to get a win to keep the season going.”

USM is 8-4-1. The Wildcats play Brookfield Academy in the Regional Final at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 1st at Brookfield Academy.