After a very emotional sectional semifinal shootout win over crosstown rival, Brookfield Central, on June 7, the Brookfield East Spartans saw their season come to an end with a 2-0 loss to Divine Savior Holy Angels on Saturday afternoon in a WIAA Division 1 sectional final game.
The Spartans had no answers against DSHA, who controlled the game from the opening whistle. DSHA kept the Spartans on their heels throughout the first half as they kept putting pressure on the defense. At the 18-minute mark, DSHA's junior midfielder Ingrid Mortonson got behind East's sophomore Julie Grisa and put it in the left-hand side of the goal to make the score, 1-0.
The Spartans were held without a shot on goal for the entire first half as DSHA continued to have its way with them. With all that went wrong for the Spartans in the first half, they were still within reach as the second half began.
However, any hope of a comeback was thwarted in the 53rd minute when DSHA's junior Madeline Sweeny crossed to senior Emily Leinfelder who headed the ball past East's goalkeeper Rachel Novak to make the score 2-0. The Spartans had nothing left as they were able to get off only two shots the remainder of the game.
Even with the loss to DSHA, East had an improbable run through the playoffs as it battled through injuries and as the fourth seed, it pulled off one of the bigger upsets in the tournament when it knocked off top-seeded Central in a shootout, 4-2.
Central was the Greater Metro Conference champion, while East, which finished its season with a 7-10-4 record, was sixth.
East stuns Central
During its sectional semifinal game, Central couldn't cash in on several chances to score, so the underdog East team took the Lancers through two overtimes and won a 4-2 shootout to advance to the sectional finals.
"We liked our chances coming in," East coach Matt Schroeder said. "They had a strong side coming in, but then again it's East-Central. You love the rivalry. No matter who is supposed to be the stronger team on paper, you know it's going to be tight."
Central coach Jason Burdge was also aware of the rivalry.
"I thought of this ever since I found out we were playing Brookfield East," he said. "It's not about records, it's about who's out there. Today, we didn't finish on the opportunities we had."
The Lancers missed two decent scoring chances in the first half and the match was scoreless at halftime.
The Lancers' best chance to score came at the 69-minute mark when Sarah Baker kicked a great lead pass to Bella Turelli, who zoned in on the ball as East's Novak raced out of the nets to cut down the angle and then made an amazing save to knock the ball away to the left about 10 yards in front of the net.
Central goalkeeper Rachel Oleson made a good save with 3:41 into the first overtime and then East missed a shot in the final seconds. Central then missed two more shots in the second overtime sending the game into a shootout.
Prayer pays off
Baker made her first shot for the Lancers, but Lauren Knudsen tied it for East. Lydia Rohde scored the second goal for Central but East's Kellie Goodman countered.
Then the turning point of the shootout came when Morgan Kenny kicked the ball over the top of the net and East's Jackie Wandt drilled in a shot to give East a 3-2 lead.
BC's Sierra High then drilled a shot to Novak's right and the 5-foot-5 inch freshman made a great save. When Shannon Cashin stepped up and drilled in a shot into the left net, East pulled off a huge upset over Central (17-5-2).
When asked what she was thinking when she stepped up with a chance to win the game, Cashin asked for some help.
"I prayed a 'Hail Mary,' " she said. "I'm tired, but I'm overjoyed. It was close the whole game and the energy on the field was incredible."
"I'm really proud of the way these girls buried their PKs," Schroeder added. "And Rachel, the freshman goalkeeper, talk about being in the pressure cooker. She's had two big games here and she's logged over 800 minutes in goal for us now."
It was Novak's first time in this situation.
"I was extremely nervous," she said. "I was hoping on stopping the ball and the kicker would mess up, like they did."
The Spartans accomplished this feat without Taylor Swittel, their senior star player, who left the game in the first half with an arm injury.
- Tom 'Sky' Skibosh also contributed to this story
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