Neither rain, nor mud nor the rooster-tails of water that cropped up everytime a player skidded to the far northwestern corner of the field could stop Brookfield East senior midfielder Mike Markusse Thursday night in a WIAA sectional semifinal soccer game at Menomonee Falls.
Markusse turned senior defender Mark Glowacki's re-direct of a short corner kick by senior Alan Miranda into a flashy, sideways turned goal from about 15 yards out at the 72:20 mark to lift the Spartans to an exciting 3-2 victory over the Indians.
"It was a nicely turned play, a beautiful stroke," said Spartan coach Herbie Dundun. "We knew we would have to make adjustments on a smaller field on a wet night. We had to go long one way (with the wind at our backs) and short on the other (when it was against us)."
"We got caught sleeping on a short, quick corner and we didn't stop the second guy," said Indian coach Scott Stein. It was Markusse's second goal of the game.
The victory avenged a 1-0 loss by the Spartans to the Indians during the regular season that was decided by an East own goal. It also advanced the Spartans to the WIAA sectional final at Brookfield Central at 7 p.m. Saturday against Whitefish Bay, which was a 6-0 winner over Cedarburg this night.
The winner will advance to the WIAA State Tournament next Thursday through Saturday at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. The Spartans are looking for their second straight state berth.
The decision marked the second straight season that the Indians saw their campaign end at the hands of the Spartans. Last year's sectional final loss was marked by a controversial offisdes call that took away a Falls goal.
This one too was not without controversy as midway through the second half on a Falls' push, the Spartan goalie came way out on the right side to get the ball. He appeared to undercut an Indian attacker on what looked to be a promising push.
No call was made and play moved on. Stein thought it was a turning point.
"I don't know if it would have been a penalty kick or not, but it certainly looked like some call should have been made," said Stein said. "It's a situation that was taken away from the kids and you just can't do that. I know they had the better of play for long stretches at a time, but something like that could have made the score 2-2 and the fouls were something 12 to three in their favor in the second half."
About 10 minutes before Markusse's decisive goal, Falls did manage to tie the score at 2-2 as junior midfielder Will Vanderhorst bounced a corner kick into the box where where senior defender Trevor Estock took it on one hop and headed it in at the 62:53 mark.
Falls had taken the initial lead on the dreary and cool night at the 17:35 mark when senior midfielder and co-captain Jake Brust made a strong run on the right side and deftly snapped the ball to the far left post.
East tied it 13 minutes later when on a perfectly executed play, as senior forward and co-captain John Orgovan launched a free kick from the far right corner into the left side of the box where Markusse leaped above the crowd and headed it home from point-blank range.
It stayed 1-1 at the half before Spartan senior midfielder Matt Wilson turned and launched a bomb of a shot from more than 30 yards out into the left side of the goal to give East its first lead at the 52:20 mark.
"We made the adjustments," said Dundun. "The first loss to them was unfortunate, the own goal, but they are a good side. It was a good game. Now here we are with a chance to repeat (a trip to state)."
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