Commitment and focus led Bay boys soccer team to NSC title
Homestead win finishes clean league slate
They're happy with it, but they're not going to get too overly excited about it.
That's the attitude of the members of the Whitefish Bay boys soccer team, who completed an impressive 7-0 championship run in the North Shore Conference this fall with an easy 4-0 rout of area rival Homestead on Oct. 1.
"We like to think that everything we do is a learning experience, even our losses (like to state powers Marquette and Brookfield East)," senior co-captain and midfielder Paul Gwidt said. "The main goal is making sure we get better as a group. How we can work as one. We do that, it'll come together in the state tourney."
Which is coming up quick for the 11-5 overall Blue Dukes, who will be in the WIAA Division 2 bracket based out of Brookfield East. The Blue Dukes who also beat Waukesha North, 3-1, on Oct. 3, are the No. 1 seed in their half of the bracket and host Milwaukee Ronald Reagan in a 7 p.m. regional semifinal Oct. 15.
If they win, they'll host the winner of Nicolet and Whitnall in a regional final Oct. 17. Wauwatosa East is the second seed on the Bay half of the bracket and Brookfield East, which beat Bay, 5-3, earlier this season is the top seed on the upper half of the bracket.
On to the next goal
Coach Jeff Worzella said that preparations for the tournament started almost the moment the game ended with Port.
"As for any type of celebration, after the game we huddled up and I congratulated them on going undefeated (in conference)," he said. "I told them to enjoy it for the night and tomorrow we're going to set focus on out next goal. Then at practice yesterday (Oct. 2), everyone was focused. It's a great group to coach, they are very motivated."
They are a confident group, too, as Gwidt notes.
"We have seriously great players out here," he said. "We lost a lot from last year, but we still have a lot of talent in the lineup. I saw that right away in the preseason tryouts. We just have kinds of speed and quickness. We're not the biggest team out there, but we can knock it around."
As evidenced by their run through the North Shore. The Blue Dukes gave up only a single goal all season, an "ah shucks" moment for the team in an earlier 7-1 rout of Port Washington.
Bay wound up outscoring its opposition in league play by a 25-1 count.
"It all starts with our midfield," Gwidt said. "When they're on, they dominate the field."
Gwidt also said that the first-year coach Worzella has done a great job molding all this talent into a team.
"He really likes to keep things simple," Gwidt said. "He wants us to possess the ball and use our speed to get to the goal."
Coach 'on task'
And when speaking of the coach's mentality, Gwidt cites Worzella's focus.
"He's on task all the time so we can get better," Gwidt said.
In the win over Homestead, the Blue Dukes got first half goals from Zach Heller (Joey Borris on the assist) and Ben Kuzinicki and then second half scores from Kuzinicki again and Gwidt.
Even though the Blue Dukes had officially clinched the title the week before when Grafton knocked off Cedarburg, they wanted to make sure the final standings showed a clean record.
"We wanted to play well here," Gwidt said.
In Worzella's eyes, they did.
"One of our goals to start the year was to win conference, and I'm very proud of my team for how they achieved this goal," he said. "Going undefeated in this conference is not an easy thing to do, and outscoring our opponents 25-1 is something that we're very proud of.
"This was mostly due to the leadership and the commitment the players have shown this year, they work extremely hard in practice and that carries over to the field. We still have some goals we're working toward and we're making positive progress."
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