Notre Dame Academy girls soccer wins on Senior Night
By Tori Wittenbrock
Green Bay- Notre Dame Academy hosted Pulaski girls soccer, Thursday night, May 25, in an important battle heading into regionals.
From the first whistle, the NDA girls made it clear they had something to prove at home on their Senior night.
Just a minute and a half after kick-off, the NDA offense was able to work their way into the box, and Audrey Burnell got the ball to the feet of forward Lacey Fabry, who netted a nicely placed goal right by the far-post for an early 1-0 lead.
Despite the extra measures that Pulaski knew they would have to take to recover, trailing early did not seem to affect their morale.
Pulaski continued with a relentless attack, placing the entirety of NDA’s team under high pressure situations.
Red Raider Hailey Jansen sent a nice ball up the field to give her offense a decent chance in the attack, but the effort was quelled by a strong NDA defensive line.
Just five minutes into the game, a handball by Pulaski began a long string of free kicks that would last the entire game, totalling more than 20 free kicks in the entire match.
Both teams retained their composure and aggression well throughout the entire match.
NDA’s defense did a good job handling Pulaski’s offensive high-press with their necessary good first touch.
Throughout the first half, the Red Raiders worked tremendously hard to tracking the ball and timing their jumps in order to win the majority of the balls out of the air.
Hailey Jansen played a big role on the right wing for Pulaski, working the ball from the defensive to offensive third of the field.
The Triton center backs held strong on defense, bringing the ball down and confidently possessing out of the back. Their patience and composure paid-off, allowing them to connect with each other, building good counter attacks for their team.
Gianna Logue held together the back line for Pulaski, consistently stopping through-balls and breakaways, and finding outlets along the sideline.
Captain Sam Hendry of the Triton defense sent a big ball over the top in the 17th minute of the game, ultimately a turnover in the midfield a few passes later, but a decent opportunity for her team, and a smart decision to escape the pressure in the back.
Moments later, NDA goalkeeper Emma Skaletski made a huge and impactful save for her team, coming off her line and sliding to save a ball that might have been an equalizing goal.
In the 21st minute of the half, a shot that pinged off the crossbar by Pulaski’s Decker, ultimately retrieved by NDA’s keeper, made it clear that the Red Raiders were still in the fight.
NDA quickly returned fire when a handball allowed for Burnell to have a go at goal, placing the ball just inches over Pulaski’s crossbar.
The game got very physical in the midfield, with a repeated string of free kicks from the half for fouls on both teams between the 25th and 30th minutes of the game.
Burnell, however, did an exceptionally great job controlling fast-paced balls into her feet, finding the feet of her teammates, or turning her opponents and getting into the attack.
Triton senior, Aubrey Guyette, fought aggressively as an outside back to protect her team’s lead. She was able to consistently take the ball from the feet of her opponents and connect with a teammate up the field.
A free kick for Pulaski — the result of a foul from NDA that elicited an uproar from both teams after the referee’s whistle — gave the Red Raiders another chance to even the score in the 38th minute.
Brianna Kapla received the ball in the box, but lost it to NDA’s defensive line while trying to get a shot off. However, Kapla proved her accountability and determination, chasing her opponent down and winning the ball back for her team for another attack, just before the end of the first half.
Both teams came out ready to battle from the start of the second half. Pulaski’s Laci Lemke worked aggressively, to force a turnover for her team, but later was involved in a foul that awarded a free kick to NDA.
Pulaski’s free kick in the 43rd minute of the match ricocheted off of Olivia Holschuh in the wall, and ultimately became a shot that went out of bounds for a NDA goal kick.
Red Raider Josie Steeno stopped a potentially dangerous Triton breakaway a few moments later.
Notre Dame continued to turn up the pressure, forcing Gianna Logue to pull a passionate slide tackle in the box, stopping the immediate attack, but conceding possession for a corner kick.
Triton forward Mia Lemkuil stepped up to the flag, whipping the ball beautifully, straight into the back of the net, out of reach from anyone on her own team, or her opponents, with a goal that would secure her team’s 2-0 lead.
Although the increased lead seemed to put a damper on Pulaski’s morale, Jansen and Decker worked together to transition from defense to offense, making a good run up the field.
Lemkuil gained possession for her team while trapped in the corner by Pulaski’s defense, but exemplified well-practiced footwork to get around the defender and get the cross off into the box.
Decker aggressively challenged a ball on the fly, nearly creating a goal-scoring breakaway for her team in the 65th minute.
Proving their determination to even up the score, Ellie Mangold fired a shot on goal that was saved by Skaletski in goal for NDA in the 30th minute.
With five minutes to go in the game, the intensity only increased, with the ball bouncing around dangerously in NDA’s box.
Chaos ensued after Decker scored a hard-fought goal for Pulaski with just two minutes and 30 seconds left in the game.
The score, now 2-1, left Pulaski scrambling, desperately trying to find the back of the net one last time while NDA worked hard to prevent conceding another goal.
A free kick for the Tritons with 30 seconds left in the match meant that NDA would take their time, crushing any chance left for Pulaski to tie it up, despite their efforts lasting until the final second of the match.
The final score of the game would be 2-1, Notre Dame Academy taking the win at home on their Senior Night.
The Tritons will advance to play Wautoma/Wild Rose in a WIAA regional game next Thursday, June 1, at 4p.m.