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Whitefish Bay girls soccer team plays well in large regional tourney

Holds own versus national No. 1

May 7, 2014

The members of the Whitefish Bay girls soccer team slept a bit on the way down to Burlington, Iowa, for the Tournament of Champions last weekend.

But on the way back, the Blue Dukes were too excited to sleep, as they had established themselves as a regional power, going 1-1-1 in the two-day event.

Bay tied Visitation Academy 0-0, which was ranked 39th in the country going into the tourney, then smacked around Jefferson City (Missouri), 3-1, before more than holding its own in a 2-0 loss to St. Teresa's of Kansas City, Missouri, which had entered the event as the top-ranked team in the country.

"We had gone to this tournament my first four years at Bay and then we took the last couple off," said Blue Duke coach Robert Williams. "We wanted back in this year and it worked out. We're a better team, we competed at a higher level."

That they did as they ended the week, which also included a 5-0 North Shore Conference victory against Grafton on April 29, with a 7-2-3 record, including a 3-0 NSC record.

What Williams was really pleased with was that the Blue Dukes were able to do this even while being short-handed.

"We were missing our starting goalie (Amanda Pandl) as well as a center back (Samantha Rothman). We were just plain short," he said. "Some couldn't go because of sickness and injury, but we played good, good, good. We competed. We had our chances against St. Teresa's and that says a lot for our girls with a back-up keeper (Kristin Hirst).

"Just a great job."

In that St. Teresa's game, the sophomore Hirst, who is normally a field player, kept Bay in the game with 11 saves.

In the win over Jefferson City, Bay got two goals from Leah Rothstein and another from Cassidy Blanchard (assist to Rothstein).

This effort was important on many levels, said Williams.

"There were a lot of college coaches there, watching," he said. "People think Bay is halfway decent, a good program around here, but down there, we're a mere afterthought, so this was good for us."

Williams couldn't say enough about his team's defense, especially Blanchard, Clare Matkom, Annie Beckman, Erin Corrigan and others.

"We had two tough games on Saturday and we needed to get rested and get back early," said Williams. "We should be at full-strength for Tuesday (which was Nicolet) and then we'll have Oregon and Appleton North come in for games this weekend."

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