Menomonee Falls senior keeper Kayla Heagney said it can be difficult to beat a team twice, but the Indians girls soccer team sure made it look easy Saturday night (June 7).
Falls (21-2) coasted to a 2-0 victory over Greater Metro Conference foe Brookfield Central (12-3-1) in a WIAA Division 1 regional final, about two weeks after beating the Lancers on their home field, 1-0.
"After we beat them the last time, we knew it would be another low-scoring game," Heagney said. "They say it's tough to beat the same team twice like that, but we really wanted this one. We came in acting like we've never played them before."
Heagney was a key factor in the shutout win, with two of her saves coming on typically dangerous high shots she was able to knock out of play.
"Obviously I try to make all the plays I can," she said. "But it's not just me back there. It's a whole team, and I've got a great defense in front of me."
"Kayla made some tremendous saves," said Menomonee Falls head coach Scott Stein. "Those were probably their two best chances to score, and she did what she's done all year. It's what we've come to expect out of her. She's a terrific athlete and she's a great kid."
Falls got on the board in familiar fashion in the 20th minute when senior forward Rachel Clayton headed a goal from freshman forward Kelly Sprecher. It was Clayton's team-leading 30th goal of the season and Sprecher's team-leading 15th assist.
"Kelly's a strong freshman, and they've been a great tandem for us this year," Stein said. "They showed up tonight when we needed them to, and now it's on to sectionals."
Central struggled all night to find its offense and spent most of the game trying to get the ball off its own side of the field. Falls' persistent attack paid off with another header in the 64th minute when senior midfielder Anna Smalley knocked one in from senior midfielder Jen Eberhardy. Both goals were scored off dead-ball situations.
"It was pretty much the game I expected going in," Stein said. "Not a whole lot of offense, but I was very pleased with how we upped the intensity tonight. I thought we missed a couple in the first half and had some lulls in the second half, but once we got the second goal I felt like we were in a pretty good place."
Central first-year coach Danny Makal agreed.
"The match was a hard-fought match, and we knew that it was going to be a battle," he said. "Falls played the way we anticipated that they would would: fast, physical and determined."
Makal talked about his strategy with Falls' top players.
"Anna Smalley, Jen Eberhardy and Rachel Clayton are top players in the state, and when they are all clicking, they are a tough group to beat," he said. "We tried to take Eberhardy out of the game by not letting her distribute, and it was seemingly pretty effective. I thought that the second half we matched and perhaps had a good spell where we took the game to them a bit, but it did not come to fruition."
Falls moves on to face top-seeded Divine Savior Holy Angels, the Greater Metro Conference champion, at 7 p.m. June 12 at Quad Park. DSHA (15-5-2) gave Falls one of its only two losses, a 2-0 setback April 23.
"Falls deservedly is moving on," Makal said. "They lived up to their state ranking, and we wish them the best of luck going forward. Coach Stein has his team in the right place right now to face a very good DSHA."
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