As the No. 9 seed in the section tournament, the Watertown-Mayer girls’ soccer team achieved the first single-digit seed in program history.
The Royals went into last Thursday’s playoff opener at eighth-seeded Mound-Westonka with the belief they could also pull off their first playoff win in school history. Ultimately, a slow start made the Royals come up a bit short of that goal, but not for lack of effort to the final horn.
“I think the majority of teams would have thrown in the towel (at halftime), but our girls came out in the second half and surprised everyone, including the coaching staff,” Watertown-Mayer coach Lindsey Rague said. “(Assistant coach) Jeremy (Bosquez) and I were extremely proud of the way our girls fought until the very end.”
After a power outage at the stadium caused a roughly 30 minuted delay just seconds after the match got under way, Mound-Westonka got off to a torrid start, pouring in a flurry of goals within a matter of minutes. The Whitehawks took a 4-0 lead, and after Katie Heilman scored for the Royals to make the score 4-1, Mound-Westonka got a fifth goal before halftime.
Olivia Wabbe added a goal on an assist by Ify Nwankwo early in the second half to cut the lead to 5-2, but Mound-Westonka again scored to go ahead by four, this time 6-2.
Heilman later added a second goal for the Royals on an assist from Mady Anderson to cut the lead to 6-3, and with 48 seconds left, Ali Anderson added one last goal for the Royals.
“They never let down, and we made a decision after that game to immediately shift our focus to next year,” said Rague, whose team loses just two seniors, defender Jenna Thompson and goalkeeper Lexy Heldt.
The Royals finished the season with a 9-8 overall record.
Contact Matt Bunke at firstname.lastname@example.org