A prolific offense and stout defense that permitted goals in only two games carried the Oregon girls soccer team to the top of the polls and earned the Panthers national recognition this season.
Waunakee also has relied on a stingy defense, allowing goals in only four games.
Oregon, Waunakee and Sauk Prairie give the Badger Conference three teams at this week’s WIAA state girls soccer tournament — Waunakee in Division 1 and Oregon and Sauk Prairie in Division 2.
Meanwhile, McFarland returns as the defending Division 3 state champion.
Those teams highlight area participation in the 39th WIAA state tournament Thursday through Saturday at KOHLER Engines Stadium at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.
Championship games in the four divisions are scheduled for Saturday.
Here are several things to know:
Tickets cost $11 per game plus online fees and must be purchased online on the WIAA website through GoFan, the WIAA ticketing partner, at: https://gofan.co/app/school/WIAAWI?activity=Soccer.
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Parking is available at Uihlein Soccer Park. There is typically a charge for parking.
The semifinals of the four divisions will be streamed live on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network on a consumer subscription basis. A subscription to the live programming may be purchased at wiaa.tv or www.nfhsnetwork.com by clicking on the subscription image near the top of the page.
The finals of the four divisions are scheduled to air live on either Bally Sports Wisconsin or Bally Sports Wisconsin Extra (check local cable listings).
The Division 2 championship match will be aired at 11 a.m. Saturday on Bally Sports Wisconsin. The Division 1 and Division 4 title games are scheduled for Bally Sports Wisconsin Extra at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, respectively. The Division 3 championship is scheduled to air on Bally Sports Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Division 2 semifinals — No. 1 seed Whitefish Bay (20-4-2) vs. No. 4 Sauk Prairie (16-6-1), 11 a.m.; No. 2 Oregon (21-0-1) vs. No. 3 Cedarburg (14-6-2), 1:30 p.m.
Division 1 semifinals — No. 1 Muskego (16-1-3) vs. No. 4 De Pere (21-2-3), 4:30 p.m.; No. 2 Waunakee (21-1-2) vs. No. 3 Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels (19-2-2), 7 p.m.
Division 4 semifinals — No. 1 Kiel (22-0-2) vs. No. 4 The Prairie School (12-5-3), 11 a.m.; No. 2 Hartland Lake Country Lutheran (13-5-2) vs. No. 3 Wisconsin Rapids Assumption (22-0-0), 1:30 p.m.
Division 3 semifinals — No. 1 New Berlin Eisenhower (20-2-1) vs. No. 4 Minocqua Lakeland (15-2-3), 4:30 p.m.; No. 2 McFarland (19-2-1) vs. No. 3 Green Bay Notre Dame (17-2-7), 7 p.m.
Division 2 championship — 11:05 a.m.; Division 1 championship — 1:35 p.m.; Division 4 championship — 4:30 p.m.; Division 3 championship — 7:05 p.m.
McFarland defeated Plymouth 4-1 in the Division 3 title match last year and the Spartans return to defend their championship.
DSHA won the Division 1 championship, edging Hudson 2-1 in the final last year, and is back. Whitefish Bay blanked Notre Dame 7-0 in the Division 2 title game and also returns. Brookfield Academy was the Division 4 champion, defeating Cedar Grove-Belgium 4-3 in a shootout after a 1-1 tie.
Waukesha Catholic Memorial has won the most titles with 11, followed by Whitefish Bay (nine), Brookfield Central (six), Madison West (five) and DSHA (five).
Whitefish Bay’s state trip this year will give it 22 appearances, leading all programs. Catholic Memorial and Neenah each have qualified 15 times, Brookfield Central and Notre Dame 14 apiece and Madison Memorial and Madison West 12 apiece.
Division 1 notes
Waunakee, coached by Ben Voss, will make its fourth state appearance and most recent since 2019.
Waunakee, the Badger East Conference champion, advanced to state with a 2-0 victory over Wales Kettle Moraine in the sectional final at Waunakee. The Warriors won the Division 2 state championship in 2014. Waunakee finished as Division 1 runner-up in 2008.
The Warriors’ strong defense is led by senior defender Ava Bryan and the attack is sparked by sophomore midfielder Alyssa Thomas, senior forwards Lexis Savola and Lauren Meudt and junior forward McKenna Nachreiner.
Waunakee’s opponent, DSHA, seeks to defend its title after qualifying for the 11th time, including the Dashers’ third consecutive appearance in years when the tournament was held (it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). DHSA finished second to Brookfield Central in the Greater Metro Conference.
Muskego makes its seventh state appearance and most recent since winning the championship in 2019 at the end of a six-year streak of state trips. Muskego and Waukesha West tied for the Classic 8 Conference title this spring.
De Pere will make its sixth appearance and most recent since 2013. The Redbirds tied for first with Notre Dame in the Fox River Classic Conference.
Top scorers to watch: Muskego sophomore forward Anna Sikorski (17 goals, five assists); De Pere sophomore forward Amelia Schuh (30 goals, six assists); Waunakee sophomore midfielder Alyssa Thomas (18 goals, eight assists); DSHA senior Sofia Miranda (13 goals, three assists).
Division 2 notes
Oregon, coached by Bobby Nichols, is making its seventh consecutive appearance in the years the tournament has been contested.
The Panthers were first in 2015 and 2019 and second in 2016 and 2018. Badger West Conference champion Oregon blanked Union Grove 5-0 in the sectional played at Oregon. The Panthers were ranked No. 1 overall and in Division 2 in the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association poll and last week rose to No. 1 nationally in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
Oregon’s offense is propelled by senior forward Zoey Pagels, sophomore forward Katelyn Studebaker, junior forward Elise Boyd, junior midfielder Ashley Wolfe and freshman forward Addison Werth, senior goalkeeper Payton Lang leads the defense.
Oregon will play Cedarburg, making its sixth state trip and returning for the first time since 2014. The Bulldogs finished second in the North Shore Conference.
Defending champion Whitefish Bay is making its third consecutive appearance amid state visit No. 22. Whitefish Bay was the North Shore champion and advanced with a 2-1 overtime victory over Brookfield Central in the sectional final.
The Blue Dukes will play Sauk Prairie, qualifying for the second consecutive year and third overall (also appearing in 1999). The Eagles, coached by Drew Kornish, lost to Whitefish Bay in the semifinal round last year. Sauk Prairie, Badger West runner-up behind Oregon, defeated River Falls 3-1 in the Rhinelander sectional.
Sauk Prairie’s offense is led by senior midfielder Katelyn Fishnick, junior midfielder Alexis Klemm, freshman forward McKenna Breunig and sophomore forward Alexis Atkinson.
Top scorers to watch: Whitefish Bay junior forward Lucia Englund (26 goals, 10 assists); Sauk Prairie senior midfielder Katelyn Fishnick (21 goals, 10 assists); Oregon senior forward Zoey Pagels (22 goals, 17 assists); Cedarburg sophomore forward Mary Stroebel (30 goals, seven assists).
Division 3 notes
Rock Valley Conference champion McFarland, coached by T.J. DiPrizio, returns after winning the title in 2021 and will make its fifth overall appearance. The Spartans were second in 2007. McFarland edged Madison Edgewood 1-0 in the sectional final in McFarland.
The Spartans’ attack is led by senior midfielder/forward Grace Breuchel, senior forward Avery Pennekamp, sophomore midfielder Ava Dean and senior forward Greta Blau, while Jaelyn White, Elise Freeman and Elise Gillen are among key defenders.
Notre Dame makes its 14th appearance and fourth consecutive trip. The Tritons won the Division 3 title in 2018 and were second in Division 2 in 2021.
New Berlin Eisenhower is back for the second straight year and seventh overall. The Woodland Conference champion Lions edged Shorewood 2-1 in the sectional final.
Lakeland is back for the second time, most recently in 2004. The Thunderbirds won the Great Northern Conference and moved on to state with a sectional victory over Rice Lake (4-2 in a shootout after a 2-2 tie).
Top scorers to watch: New Berlin Eisenhower senior midfielder Lauren Hernandez (29 goals, 21 assists); Lakeland senior midfielder Sophia Myshchyshyn (22 goals, 15 assists); McFarland senior midfielder/forward Grace Breuchel (35 goals, 10 assists); Notre Dame sophomore midfielder Audrey Burnell (24 goals, 13 assists).
Division 4 notes
Kiel qualified for state for the first time. The Raiders were co-champions of the Eastern Wisconsin/Packerland Conference with Sheboygan Falls. They shut out Howards Grove 4-0 in the sectional title match.
The Prairie School, located in Wind Point near Racine, advanced to state for the eighth time and most recent since 2019, when the Hawks earned the title. The Hawks were second in the Metro Classic Conference behind winner Kenosha St. Joseph and advanced with a sectional victory over Brookfield Academy (4-2 in a shootout after a 2-2 tie).
Lake Country Lutheran will make its first appearance as a stand-alone program, after six trips in two previous co-op arrangements. The Lightning were second in the Midwest Classic Conference behind Brookfield Academy. They defeated Sheboygan Falls in the sectional final (4-3 in a shootout after a 1-1 tie).
Assumption returns for the fourth time and second in a row. The Royals were the champions of the Mid-Western Wisconsin Conference. They topped Eagle River Northland Pines 3-0 in the sectional final.
Top scorers to watch: Kiel junior halfback Taylor Schad (79 goals, 24 assists); The Prairie School freshman forward Norah Boerner (18 goals, six assists); Lake Country Lutheran senior midfielder/forward Layla Kelbel (32 goals, 12 assists); Assumption freshman forward Sarah Shaw (47 goals, five assists).