After somewhat of a slow start, the Muskego girls soccer team just kept gaining momentum in its WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal game against Greenfield on June 12.
The Warriors finally broke through for their first goal at the 19-minute mark when Michelle Magnus scored off a pass from Arianna Cyrus, and they steadily took control of the game, winding up with a 4-1 victory.
Muskego improved to 16-7-3 on the season and earned the school's first-ever trip to a sectional championship game in girls soccer.
The Warriors will take on Kenosha Tremper, a 3-2 overtime winner against Racine Horlick, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at Kenosha Indian Trail.
Greenfield, which made major strides this season, wound up at 7-12.
Neither team was able to mount much offense early in the contest.
"We needed to be tested," Muskego head coach Eric Hess said. "We kind of coasted through those first two (regional) games, 10-0, 10-0. It was good that we got a wake up call. Greenfield was definitely physical. They (the Hustlin' Hawks) gave us a little bit of fits."
At the 19-minute mark, Cyrus made a nice pass from the right side to Magnus in front of the net. Magnus headed the ball into the right side of the net to break the scoreless tie and give Muskego a boost.
The Warriors then missed a couple more shots in the ensuing minutes, but Angela Jasper made it 2-0 at 31 minutes with a drive downfield.
"I got a through ball, and I was able to get past the defender," Jasper said. "It was just a one-on-one with the keeper (Olivia Veloz). It deflected off of her, and then I got the rebound."
Greenfield, however, answered just two minutes later when Dana Schwab, the Hawks' leading scorer, burst ahead of the Muskego defense and set up a one-on-one with Muskego goalkeeper Madelyn Runyan.
Schwab hit an angling shot, and Runyan dove for an apparent save, but the ball slipped underneath her and into the net. Schwab's 26th goal of the season cut it to 2-1, and that was the score at the half.
"At halftime, we focused (on Greenfield's physical play) and you could see the energy really come back again for that second half," Hess said. "We kind of limped into the regionals with three losses at the end, against three good teams, but then we played two not-so-good teams, and we got that confidence — maybe a little too much confidence — and needed to be brought back to earth. Then we got back to playing how we're capable of playing."
Muskego proceeded to dominate the second half, not allowing Greenfield many opportunities and keeping play almost exclusively in the Hawks' zone.
In the 54th minute, Cyrus lofted a corner kick and Erin Bolskar headed the ball into the goal in what Hess called "a thing of beauty" to give Muskego a 3-1 lead.
The Warriors continued to attack but were thwarted by some nice saves by Veloz. Finally, in the 77th minute, Jasper tallied her second goal to put away the victory.
Despite the loss, Greenfield head coach Rob Blake was pleased with his team's effort.
"We fought to the very end," Blake said. "I know Muskego did a lot of offseason conditioning, and I think we need to match that. The whole team needs to make sure that we are weightlifting in the offseason so that we can come out and play in these games for 80 minutes."
While Greenfield looks toward next season, hoping to continue its improvement under Blake, Muskego is on its way to a school first, the sectional title game.
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