Soccer Cards enjoy star-studded Invite

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Emma Geppert had a big weekend for Middleton’s girls soccer team./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Mary Duffy might not have cared much for the micro.

The macro? That’s something Duffy was loving.

Duffy, Middleton’s girls soccer coach, brought her team to the star-studded Girls High School Invitational just outside of Wisconsin Dells last weekend. The Cardinals tied Germantown, 3-3, last Friday and lost to D.C. Everest, 3-2, last Saturday.

But the results were almost secondary.

Twenty-three elite programs from Wisconsin and one from Illinois took part in the two-day tournament. And afterwards, Duffy & Co. were thrilled to have faced top competition that can help them in the weeks ahead.

“While everyone loves to win, we learned lots this weekend,” Duffy said. “It was a wonderfully productive weekend: challenging, exciting, tough. Every game this weekend led us to more answers to work on solving this year’s puzzle.”

The first-time tournament was hosted by Madison Memorial at the Woodside Sports Complex in Mauston near Wisconsin Dells. The facility has six artificial fields.

“The facilities were top of the line and the complex was gorgeous,” Whitefish Bay coach Rob Dubinski said. “It was great to be able to watch six games at a time a see so many different teams from around the state.”

Many others agreed.

“I was incredibly impressed with the facilities from a coach, player and spectator perspective,” Hartland Arrowhead coach Scott Asher said. “The layout of the complex is simple and easy to navigate. I would definitely go back.”

Middleton got a good look at two outstanding sides that should both have big seasons.

In Middleton’s tie with Germantown, Katya Boehnen had two goals and one assist. Danielle Martin added a goal, while Tess Grywalsky and Lexi Schultz both had one assist.

“It took us 10 minutes to adjust our game speed,” Duffy said. “Germantown came out a bit harder and ready to play than we did. However, after we gave up a communication goal, the girls responded.”

Duffy and many of the Cardinals wanted to highlight the performance of senior Emma Geppert, whose tenacious play was key in Middleton earning a draw.

“She is just so consistent with her game-ready attitude, toughness and desire to win, score, play defense, whatever the team needs,” Duffy said. “The captains wanted to draw upon Emma’s toughness as an example of what this team will need. It won’t just be the technical play only, but just some downright tough grit, passion and desire.”

Middleton then dropped a tough, 3-2 decision to D.C. Everest, the WIAA Division 1 defending state champs.

The Cardinals led, 2-1, in the second half thanks to goals from Maya Shea and Kristen Reikersdorfer. Geppert assisted on both goals.

But the Evergreens rallied with two goals in a 10-minute window to earn the win.

“If we could take back any time from this weekend, it would be a 10-minute lull we had while we were up 2-1,” Duffy said. “However, we do not dwell in the past, and as always, we learn from the games, especially the early ones. We’ll adjust, fix and work on aspects of our games to improve.

“We altered our formation from the previous day to shore up some gaps in our team transitional defense that prevented a win and the defensive shape all around was much more solid with less transitional breakdowns from the previous day.”

Despite the loss, Duffy was pleased with many elements of Middleton’s two-day performance. She also wanted to highlight the play of senior captain Grace Douglas, a University of Wisconsin.

“Grace Douglas played phenomenal,” Duffy said. “In the air, tackles, passes, corners, all things we know and will see every game from Grace, but it was her communication in the back to organize and push her teammates that she added to her already versatile game.”

While Middleton wasn’t satisfied with a loss and a tie over the weekend, it was thrilled to have the chance to compete in arguably the best tournament in the state this spring.

“We loved the tourney and want to come back next year,” Duffy said. “We liked having lots of teams there, could scout others and got some great competition.”

Middleton also defeated Janesville Parker, 11-0, last Thursday, in its season-opener.

Kristen Reikersdorfer had three goals and one assist, while Maya Shea had two goals and one assist. Boehnen had two goals, while Tess Grywalsky had one goal and two assists.

Martin, Geppert and Charlotte Dunn each had a goal, while Casey Wempner had two assists. Schultz, Kenzie Zocher, Lauren Griffin and Celia Semrad all had one assist, as well.

“We started well, but excitement for the beginning of the season caused us to play a bit frantic at first,” Duffy said. “That settled within five minutes and offensive movement was on point. Once we scored, it was a flood of opportunities.”

• On deck: Middleton hosted Verona Tuesday and faces Madison East Thursday at Breese Stevens Field at 7 p.m. 

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