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West De Pere puts up four over Menasha

By Tori Wittenbrock
Associate Sports Editor

Marissa VanDeHei gets a her head on the ball following a West De Pere corner kick. Tori Wittenbrock photos

DE PERE – After going all the way to the WIAA Sectional Final last season, the girls West De Pere soccer team has made it clear that they are on a mission this season to go even further with their 4-0 win over Menasha on Tuesday, April 9.
“It’s incredible — the amount of adjusting to change that they did,” said Phantom’s Head Coach Chad Johnson. “This team has had to adjust to a lot of change — a new playing style, a lot more minutes in certain positions and just a different way of having to do things, and somehow they are catching on and they are keeping up.”
Johnson is in his first season at the helm of the program after taking over for Matt Ganzen, who led the team for nearly two decades.
“This early in the season, they are allowing the coaching staff just to add little things because the previous staff really has built what is here. This staff is very lucky — we have to admit — it’s a good team that we are now in charge of managing. Coach Ganzen did a great job in the past with his staff and we are just here to make minor tweaks and changes.”
The Phantoms started off the game strong by slipping a through ball behind Menasha’s backline for Marissa VanDeHei’s breakaway for a clean finish just three minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead.
The Phantoms kept their momentum up, and moments later Faith Walder found herself on a breakaway up the middle of the field for a shot that went just wide of the far post in the 11th minute of play.
Soon after, another goal put the Phantoms even further ahead when Ella Blom volleyed a shot into the back of the net off of a flicked header by VanDeHei from a corner kick, bringing the score to 2-0.

VanDeHei battles for the ball in the Phantoms’ game against Menasha. VanDeHei secured a hat trick to help her team to a 4-0 victory.

West De Pere’s keeper kept the team in the game, posting a big save in the 17th minute and eventually getting the shutout.
A cross by VanDeHei after winning a battle down the sideline was chipped just over the net by Havanah Brockington, keeping the momentum in their favor.
A challenge by Walder on a 50/50 ball in the box caused a brief scramble but was scooped up by Menasha’s keeper in the 27th minute.
Walder found herself in a 1v1 with the keeper, but the score remained 2-0 when her shot was deflected out for a corner kick in the 30th minute.
The Phantoms saw one last attempt before the half with a Belle Mommaerts give-and-go down the sideline for a cross in the 38th minute but West De Pere could not find the back of the net and went into halftime with a score of 2-0.
The Phantoms came out just as determined in the second half.
A hard shot by VanDeHei went just wide of the goal post just 50 seconds into the half.
Though the Blue Jays attempted to test the Phantoms’ backline, when centerback Katie Neuens had the ball poked away from her she battled hard to win it back for her team and send it up the field.
In the 56th minute, VanDeHei posted her second goal of the night following up a bobble out of the keeper’s hands for the 3-0 lead in the 56th minute.
Walder took the ball down the line to the flag for service into the far post a few minutes later but could not finish it.
In the 72nd minute, VanDeHei found herself in a 1v1 with Menasha’s goalie and kept her composure as she dribbled around her in the box for an easy tap-in to secure a hat trick and a 4-0 final score for her team.
“Marissa is always going to be a threat. We give out a trophy every game to one player to take home and add something to it and then bring back for the next game — that was Marissa tonight. She is going to have to get used to getting attention on the field, but the other players around her are going to have to get used to getting more open in case that happens,” said Johnson. “I think the best of Marissa is yet to come. As a former forward myself and a coach that loves to teach attackers, there are some things that we can teach her that are going to make her really dangerous.”
As the team prepares to go deeper into the season and face more teams that pose a challenge for them, Johnson said that there are a few aspects of the game that he is hoping they can clean up going forward.

West De Pere’s Faith Walder breaks through the Menasha defensive line in their 4-0 win against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, April 9th.

“It’s the understanding that even when you’re not in, you’re in the game, which means that if you’re in the game and the ball is clear across the field, you have to know that you are still in the game even if the ball is still 60 or 70 yards from you. We have to adjust to that and the physicality. We’ve just got to gain more confidence on the ball. I think these are a lot of things that programs are focused on mid-season and I think that we are a little ahead of things, which is good,” said Johnson.

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