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West De Pere one victory away from state tournament

By Rich Palzewic

Contributing Writer

DE PERE – The West De Pere girls’ soccer team is one win away from a WIAA Division 2 state tournament berth.

Behind a pair of first-half goals, the Phantoms secured a 2-0 over Pulaski in a sectional semifinal game on June 8 at West De Pere High School.

With the victory, the No. 2-seeded Phantoms (21-4-0) will face No. 1-seeded Cedarburg (13-6-3) in the sectional finals Saturday, June 10, at Pulaski High School.

If West De Pere manages to beat Cedarburg, it will make its first-ever trip to the state tournament.

The state tournament is Thursday-Saturday, June 15-17, at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

No 3-seeded Pulaski (15-4-5) saw its season come to an end in the sectional semifinals for the second consecutive year.

“Any time you play Pulaski, you always know it’s going to be within a couple of goals,” West De Pere coach Matt Ganzen said. “They do a phenomenal job defensively and had some good opportunities offensively.”

Last season, the Red Raiders ended the Phantoms’ season in the regional finals.

“That might have been in the back of the girls’ minds a bit,” Ganzen said. “I could tell we were maybe a little bit nervous in warmups, but it was an all-around team effort.”

Four minutes into the game, Pulaski had a golden opportunity to jump ahead, but a shot from point-blank range caromed off the post.

“That could have given us the momentum,” Pulaski coach Kelly Logue said. “It would have been too early in the game to change how we play, but if (we had scored there), we could have adjusted later in the game.”

In the 28th minute, West De Pere struck for a 1-0 lead.

Using a friendly bounce off the turf, Isabella Mommaerts’ shot bounced over the head of Pulaski goalie Peighton Brandenburg and into the net.

Eight minutes later, in the 36th minute, Megan Spredemann’s free-kick from 25 yards out couldn’t be handled in net, and Tyranie Gerbers was in the right place at the right time to knock home the rebound for a 2-0 lead.

“They say a 2-0 lead in soccer is one of the most dangerous scores you can have,” Ganzen said. “If you relax for a moment, you can let the other team back in the game.”

In a game of inches, the Red Raiders had two more shots – one in the 71st minute and another in the 74th minute – also carom off the posts.

“It was a good game all the way around,” Logue said. “Sometimes you have the luck, and sometimes you don’t – today we didn’t have the luck. We accomplished a lot this season and held our own against a lot of good teams.”

West De Pere recorded 10 shots, while Pulaski finished with nine.

Ganzen said he doesn’t know much about Cedarburg (13-6-3).

“It’s incredibly exciting,” he said. “We’ll have to do our research, but I know Cedarburg is a great team. We’ll have to play our game and take our chances.”

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