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MILWAUKEE — There was only one bad thing about Lake Mills’ first WIAA state boys soccer tournament appearance on Thursday. And that was the final score of its Division 4 semifinal against six-time state champion Racine Prairie.

The L-Cats were overwhelmed, falling 8-0 at Uihlein Soccer Park. But first-year coach Tony Cooke was determined to take only positives out of the loss to the top-seeded Hawks (17-1-5).

“That’s a great team we played,” Cooke said. “They are very well-coached and they slotted some beautiful balls on us. But we brought out seven busloads of fans today. And before we got here we stopped by the middle school and they cheered us on our way, and then we stopped at the elementary school and we got out and high-fived the kids before we left.

“We want this to be a watershed moment for the program, so people can understand what the soccer team is all about and the community can get behind it. ... No, this was a beautiful day to be an L-Cat.”

Racine Prairie took control of the semifinal early on and despite some determined pushes from the L-Cats (they had five first-half corner kicks), the Hawks came out of the first half with a 2-0 lead.

Racine Prairie got the first score of the game on a back pass deflection that wound up becoming an own goal in the 11th minute.

Then two minutes later, the Hawks’ Max Yde scored the first of his three goals off a rebound from a corner kick.

“We weren’t super concerned about momentum coming out of the first half because we’ve always been a 90-minute team, and we’ve always played better in the second half,” Cooke said.

“But going into today, we knew we were the underdogs and that we’d have a tall order on our hands.”

That was the case for the L-Cats (14-9-3). Starting in the 60th minute, Racine Prairie started a 14-minute, six-goal avalanche beginning with Caden Holum’s rebound off a free kick. Lake Mills had a hard time wresting control of the ball from the quicker, deeper Hawks, who outshot the L-Cats 26-7.

Racine Prairie’s Luis Garduno set a state tournament all-divisions record with four assists.

The Hawks made L-Cats junior forward John Wilke (32 goals on the season) work hard. He did get off five shots, but was constantly hounded.

“John is an awesome player and always the opposing team’s first mark,” Cooke said, “and if we can’t get him free (then that is a problem).”

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Lake Mills 0 0 — 0

Racine Prairie 2 6 — 8

First half: RP — Own goal, 10:28; Yde, 12:51.

Second half: RP — Holum, 59:54; Frosch (Garduno), 61:59; McPhee (Garduno), 67:04; Frosch (Graduno), 68:08; Yde (Bode), 71:07; Yde (Garduno), 73:28.

Shots: LM 7 (Wilke 5, Ciesiolka 1, Stoddard 1); RP 26 (Yde 6, Frosch 5, Hawkins 5, Garduno 3, Holum 2, Chilsen 2, Peterson 1, McPhee 1, Morocco 1). Shots on goal: LM 4 (Wilke 4), RP 17 (Yde 4, Hawkins 3, Garduno 2, Frosch 2, Holum 1, Chilsen 1, Peterson 1, McPhee 1, Morocco 1). Saves: LM (Dean) 9; RP (Stoltenberg) 4. Corner kicks: LM 6, RP 5. Offsides: LM 2, RP 0. Yellow cards: LM 1 (Wolff); RP 1 (Hawkins).

Sturgeon Bay 5,

Northland Pines 1

Spencer Hubbard scored two goals, Carson Dvorak had a goal and an assist and C.J. Fairchild had two assists as the Ships (21-4-1) advanced to the Division 4 final.

The Eagles (15-4-4) were held to two shots, and their only score came on an own goal.

Shorewood 2,

Seymour 1

In a Division 3 semifinal, Austin Gayle scored one goal in each half and Ben Lichtenstein made five saves to help the Greyhounds (19-3-3) defeat the Thunder (20-2). Pace Jefferson scored for Seymour.

Bucky!

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