First taking down No. 14 Mayer Lutheran and No. 6 Breck, the No. 3 seeded Waconia girls’ soccer team advanced to the section semifinals to face No. 2 Orono, eventually falling in a 5-0 shutout.
Making the semifinals of the section tournament marked the deepest postseason run for a Waconia girls’ squad in program history.
“Despite the loss, we are proud to have made the section semifinals,” WHS head coach Mike Bruggeman said.
The tournament began Oct. 8, as Waconia hosted No. 14 Mayer Lutheran in the opening round. Defeating the Crusaders 3-0, Bruggeman said the score was closer than expected thanks to solid game plan by Mayer Lutheran that shut down the Waconia offense in the first half. At the break, the Wildcats led 1-0.
“Mayer Lutheran took the approach to defend with numbers back in the box, which made it very difficult for us to get in behind them, where we are at our best,” Bruggeman said. “They forced us into long shots of lesser quality than we prefer.”
Ultimately, the Wildcats were able to break through the Crusader defense and come away with a 3-0 win, thanks to goals from senior Jacey Zapf, senior Emily Hilk (assisted by Zapf), and junior Trina Rinke.
Still the higher seed, the ‘Cats hosted No. 6 Breck on Oct. 10, winning 5-3. Bruggeman said the playoff atmosphere was provided by great fan support, prompting the ‘Cats to play their best half of soccer this season, resulting in a 4-0 halftime lead.
“This allowed us to rest some players for Saturday and give more opportunity and experience for players that will be leading the team next year,” Bruggeman said. “While we did allow some goals in the second half, we also continued to attack and create more chances of our own. This game and result was fantastic for our girls and marked further progress forward for the WHS girls’ soccer program.”
Goals during the game came from Hilk, Elizabeth Honnold, Megan Kirsch, Sam Laumann, and Taylor LeMasters, with assists from Hilk (2), Honnold, and Zapf.
In what would be Waconia’s final game of the 2013 season, the ‘Cats traveled to No. 2 Orono on Saturday, Oct. 12. In the 5-0 loss, Bruggeman said the Wildcats wasn’t able to keep up with the Spartans’ high-paced attack like in matches earlier this season.
“Orono really played well and we didn’t have our best match,” Bruggeman said.
The Wildcats finished the season 12-6-1, second only to Orono in the Wright County Conference. Look for a full season wrap up in the coming weeks.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com