Whitefish Bay got revenge and will be making its first trip to this week’s WIAA Division 2 State Boys Soccer Tournament since 2003 by defeating Brookfield East, 2-1, on Saturday in the sectional finals at East.
The Spartans (17-4-3) had defeated the Blue Dukes, 5-3, on Sept. 28 and in last year’s sectional finals. Bay did not want to see a similar ending, so they got on the board quickly.
Following a Spartan foul at the 25:35 mark, Bay senior midfielder Zach Heller got the first of his two assists after receiving a free kick, then passing the ball to Paul Gwidt in front of the goal. The senior forward then drilled a shot into the left side of the net past East keeper Drew Johnson for a 1-0 lead.
Then at the 38:34 mark, the Blue Dukes took advantage of an East defender falling as they ran down the right side for another score. Heller got a pass in front of the goal and instead of taking a shot, he kicked it behind his leg to junior Joey Borris, who drilled in a shot to give Bay a 2-0 lead at halftime.
East shots on goal in the first half were taken by Peter Raymonds, James Knowles, Mick Kemnitz, David Loffredo and Aidan Haupt, but they couldn’t convert and it eventually cost them.
First-year Bay coach Jeff Worzella knew the Spartans were going to be fired up in the second half.
“We knew they were going to come at us,” he said. “In the first game we were defensive and we lost. This time we tried to get that third goal. We didn’t make any adjustments until about 10 minutes left when we put an extra man back.”
The Spartans finally got on the board scored when junior Peter Raymonds headed in a shot off a pass by senior Ryan Dundun at the 52:41 minute mark.
The Spartans chance to tie the game came when Bay was called for a penalty in the box, but Michael Fuchs penalty kick was blocked when Bay keeper Alex Witteman anticipated the shot to his left, leaped through the air and knocked it away.
East coach Herbie Dundun was happy with his team’s second half play, but he felt the Spartans win the first time around, hurt his team’s mental process.
“Sometimes young players think it will just happen. They forget about the hard work that got them there. We played relaxed and two goals is never easy to get back.
“We played hard, but we dug ourselves too deep a hole. When we scored the momentum shifted. The boys saw the hour glass going down and they started playing. Unfortunately, it was too little too late.
“In the second half we played like champions and that is the way to go out, playing like champions. I am very proud of the way they played in the second half. We wish Whitefish Bay the best of luck in State.”
Raymonds, Loffredo, Mick Kemnitz, Dundun, Sam Kreul, Winston Markusse and Fuchs while Tommy Baxa and Kreul had key clears and Johnson had two saves.
The Spartans had set the tone early. In the 13th minute mark Raymonds hit a ball off the crossbar. James Knowles reacted quickly and kicked the rebound, but Witteman made another big play and knocked the ball away.
The game’s tragic moment occurred a few minutes later when Bay senior forward Jack Menard was hit in the head and went down, delaying the match for 20 minutes, as he was treated and eventually taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Worzella talked about the injury to Menard and how it affected his team.
“We’re going to the hospital to see Jack right now,” he said afterward. “We talked about that at halftime. Let’s win this one for him.”
This is Bay's 11th trip to state, but its first since 2003 - and Worzalla credited the senior leadership.
“They believed what I said,” said Worzella, who was hired about a week before the season. “They don’t believe in just going through the motions. I give them and my assistants (Robby Dubinski and Pat Krygiel) all the credit.”
The Blue Dukes (17-5-0) will now play Cedarburg (14-4-2) at noon on Friday at Uihlein Soccer Park, with the winner playing at 3 p.m. on Saturday.