Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crusader Girls Soccer Continue March to Defend Title

from today's Waukesha Freeman --

Shorewood 0

Memorial gets chance to defend crown
Crusaders record 15th shutout
By Jeff Hagenau Freeman Correspondent

PEWAUKEE – Anna Jurken’s split-second reaction made the difference. Jurken, a sophomore midfielder, scored what became the winning goal in the 59th minute as the No. 1-ranked and top-seeded Catholic Memorial High School girls soccer team defeated Shorewood 2-0 in a WIAA Division 2 sectional championship game at Pewaukee High School on Saturday. It was the 15th shutout of the season for the defending state champion Crusaders, who improved to 19-6-2 overall and advanced to face No. 3-ranked Madison Edgewood in a state semifinal game at Uihlein Soccer Park at 3 p.m. Friday.

Memorial, which has combined to outscore its four playoff opponents 13-0, claimed a state tournament berth for the sixth consecutive year. The Crusaders outshot Shorewood 9-1, generating four corner kicks and five shots on goal in the second half.

On Jurken’s goal at the 59:11 mark, Memorial senior forward Nikki Condit served up a curving corner kick from the far left side toward the middle of the goalie’s box. Jurken gained good position on the right side, immediately charged inside the box past two defenders and tapped a rolling shot between the legs of Shorewood sophomore goalkeeper Megan McMahon into the back of the net.

“It was a special moment,” said Jurken, who was instantly embraced by her teammates in celebration of the pressure-packed goal. “No one was really on me at first so I just tried to get to the ball and make something happen. That’s when I was able to get a quick touch and toe-poked it through the goalkeeper’s legs into the net.

“It was very exciting considering that I had come out of the game earlier in the half and wasn’t pleased with my performance. A few minutes later, coach (John) Burke and the rest of the staff gave me another opportunity to get back in there. I just kept working, didn’t give up and it paid off. Being an underclassman, it was a great feeling to be able to step up and make a play to help get our seniors back to state. Just thinking about it still brings a big smile to my face.”

Memorial’s second goal came as sophomore midfielder Carina Krausert scored on an assist from senior forward Milena Uzelac at the 64:09 mark. Uzelac, who maintained her focus despite being temporarily dazed from taking a ball to the face a few seconds earlier, took possession on the right side and quickly fired a strong crossing pass to Krausert.

Krausert, who was wide open to the left of the box, planted and fired a strong, line-drive shot into the right corner to help ensure a victory. “Mia (Uzelac) demonstrated a lot of senior leadership in the way she shook off the pain, stayed persistent and laid the ball off with a perfect crossing pass,” said Krausert, one of 10 sophomores on the roster. “Throughout the season, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to finish shots in that very same situation but always missed. This time when I connected with the ball, it just seemed to carry and finally went in the goal.

“Since the beginning of the season, the seniors have been very supportive and patient with the underclassmen. Because of that, it was even more meaningful to be able to get the second goal and help secure another state tournament berth. It was just a great day from start to finish.”

Burke was proud of how his team survived another difficult test and remained on its mission to capture a second straight state title. “Coming off a high profile emotional victory over Pewaukee (in Thursday’s sectional semifinals), there was some potential for a letdown, but the girls responded to the situation,” said Burke, who played 20 of the 24 players on his roster.

“During the first half, Shorewood came out and showed that they were ready to provide an extraordinary challenge. That’s when the kids dug down, continued to attack on every possession and eventually wore them down in the second half. We had ice packs on four or five different players, but our mental toughness became a huge factor. They just worked through the challenge, showed their will to win and found a way to make it happen. Shorewood, which was top-seeded in its bracket, finished the season 12-8-2 overall.

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