Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Having already survived a sectional field featuring the top four ranked teams in the state, Brookfield Central's girls soccer team entered the WIAA Division 1 state tournament as the clear-cut favorite.

The top-ranked Lancers certainly looked the part in a semifinal match Thursday, June 15, rolling to a 4-0 victory over 10th-ranked Oconomowoc at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. 

Brookfield Central (14-2-2 overall) will face Bay Port in the Division 1 state championship game at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17. The sixth-ranked Pirates (24-2-1) reached the title match with a 1-0 victory over fifth-ranked Muskego. 

"It was the most focused I've seen them and the most ambitious I've seen them," Brookfield Central coach Dan Makal said. "There was this eagerness to get out and play. I think having the whole week left them just wanting to get after it.

"We knew Oconomowoc was going to be a good team. (Laura) Culhane is a great coach. We kind of knew what we were getting ourselves into, so we devised our game plan and trained it all week. The girls went out and executed. That's what they've done all year."

It didn't take long for the Lancers to strike for a goal, as Jenny Cape bent in a corner kick just 3 minutes, 8 seconds into the match.

Emma Staszkiewicz made it 2-0 when she hit a one-touch shot from 10 yards out after a through ball went past a defender. 

The junior scored again at 38:09 when she redirected in a corner kick by Sarah Knopp.

Staszkiewicz and Cape define the toughness of the Lancers. Brookfield Central is loaded with talent but faced adversity to get to this point. 

Cape spent November in the hospital after having a bone marrow transplant due to aplastic anemia discovered in September. Her status was unknown at the beginning of the season, and she did not return to school until March.

Staszkiewicz suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the sectional semifinal in 2016 and did not return to the lineup until late April. 

Megan Stritesky capped the scoring for Brookfield Central by dribbling through multiple defenders to hammer a shot into the right corner of the goal at 57:58. 

RELATED: Bay Port knocks out Muskego in state semifinals

Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Oconomowoc's first shot of the game didn't come until 63:10 when Elizabeth Quinette put a shot on Lancers goalkeeper Mia Manney.

Sarah Pasternak did not face a shot over her 59:08 in goal before giving way to Manney.

Making its first appearance in school history, Oconomowoc ended its season at 13-4-6 overall. The Raccoons are hoping to use the experience as a building block.

"I don't want them to forget the year we had prior to this game because we had a really successful season," Oconomowoc coach Laura Culhane said. "I don't want them to have this lasting impression of a game we lost 4-0 to a fantastic team. It was fun watching them and knowing what it will take for us to ever get to that level.

"I think we played a little scared. A lot of them told me afterwards that they were scared. We tried to have them not be, but they have never been here. We didn't have anything to lose, but Central played within themselves." 

Culhane, who is in the Brookfield Central Hall of Fame after a successful soccer career, was impressed with what she saw from the Lancers.

Brookfield Central outshot Oconomowoc, 24-1, including 14-1 on shots on goal.

"I've never seen a team that fundamentally sound," Culhane said. "Danny does a great job. His starters are great, but even his reserves were pinging around within the system. They pay attention to detail and do everything right. It is almost like a lower-level team you see on TV on the women's side. They are very well-coached and very disciplined in the roles they play." 

Brookfield Central will be playing in the state championship match for the first time since winning the title in 2005 with a 5-1 win over Eau Claire Memorial. 

The Lancers entered the season with sky-high expectations and now sit just one win away from meeting them.

"It will be interesting playing a team we haven't seen or heard much about other than the fact they've beaten just about everybody that they've played," Makal said. "For us, it is a matter of stick to what we've been doing and meet the challenge head on. Go and seize the moment. I thought we played really well today."