The 2017 season came to an end for University School girls’ lacrosse team on Wednesday, June 7th. The Wildcats lost to the Whitefish Bay/Nicolet/Shorewood Force 8-4 in the Semi-final of the Wisconsin Lacrosse Federation Girls State Tournament at Whitefish Bay High School.
The Wildcats entered the game seeking revenge. They had suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of the Force. Back on May 2nd, WNS stopped USM’s season-opening, eight-game winning streak with a 9-3 victory at USM.
There was a lot more riding on Wednesday evening’s game. The opportunity to play in the state tournament finals on Friday, June 9th was at stake.
Things did not start well for USM. The Force got the ball off the draw and quickly moved into the Wildcats’ end. Terra Weber moved into the USM circle and fired a shot past Leah Schneck, USM’s goalkeeper, to give WNS the lead just 24 seconds into the match.
The Force never relinquished that lead. They scored two more goals in the opening six minutes. The game then turned into a defensive battle. Neither team scored again until Grace Berrien tallied USM’s first goal midway through the opening half when she leaped and took an awesome downward, off-angle shot from the left side of the cage.
After that, the defensive players for the Force and their goalie Lia Oren, who was recently picked as the Player of the Year in the Classic Eight Conference, kept the Wildcats from scoring another goal in the first half. Izzie Mandli scored her second goal of the half with just over 5 minutes remaining to give WNS a 4-1 lead at halftime.
Mandli completed her hat trick, and Lauren Flemma and Landry Elliot scored goals before the Wildcats could get another shot past Oren. Berrien tallied two quick goals at 1:46 and 10:59 to raise the Wildcats’ hopes.
The Force were not fazed. They coalesced defensively and controlled the play for much of the remainder of the game. Oren did a lot to keep them in it, making 12 saves during the game.
The Wildcats scored one more goal off a shot by Kiley Hession, but WNS’s Brooke Weber answered it, and the Force held on to win the high-stakes battle.
USM finished the season with a fine 16-4 record an 8-3 in the Classic Eight Conference.
. Three of those losses were to Arrowhead Red and WNS, the two teams who will contend for the state championship Friday.
After the game, Samantha Adey, USM’s head coach, told the team, “That's a solid team. Their goalie is player of year for our conference, and she played an outstanding game today. Also, most of their players play all year, and they have seven players on Team Wisconsin. You guys stepped up and gave it your all today against a very good team. In the end, we have a lot to be proud of. We turned it around after our loss to Waukesha and peaked at the end of the season. We had a lot of fantastic leaders, and I thank them all. Today our defense played the best game of the season. They caused a lot of turnovers, and Leah, who stepped into her role as starting goalie half way through the season, had some outstanding saves today; she made eight saves against a good team. However, we also have to remember that there is work to do before next season. Everyone should think about what they can do to get better, so that as a team we can continue to grow each season. A big thank you to our seniors, we will miss you all, and we are so lucky to have had you on this team.”
USM Goal Scoring:
Goal Scorer Goals Assists Total
Grace Berrien 3 0 3
Kiley Hession 1 0 1
Goalkeeper Saves Goals Allowed
Leah Schneck 8 8