The New Holstein girls’ soccer team will take on Howards Grove on Thursday in the division four semifinals in Milwaukee. The team has a simple motto, “make it happen”.
“Make it happen means like never giving up, trying your hardest to get the goal, always finishing things off, always winning battles,” Brenner said.
After advancing to state thanks to a penalty kick goal by Brenner in the second overtime against Howards Grove, it seems a fitting credo.
“It was awesome, world can’t describe it,” Brenner said of making the game winner. Teammate and leading scorer Laiken Meyer had faith her teammate would deliver. “When I heard the penalty kick being called I was jacked up. I had confidence in the girl that was kicking it. I thought we had it, right from the start,” Meyer said. As for the feeling of advancing to the final four, “Your heart just drops it amazing,” Meyer described.
The Huskies are familiar with winning low scoring, close games. They’ve had 12 shutouts this season and allowed more than one goal in a game only once.
“I think we’ve just made a commitment over the last 2 years even to really play defense. It’s a team effort. Everyone plays defense. We’ve had excellent defenders that work really hard. We’ve had a very good goalie but it’s really been a team effort,” head coach Nate Laabs said when trying to pinpoint the reason for his team’s defensive prowess.
“I think our defensive line is a force to be reckoned with and they definitely keep me safe back in that goalie’s box,” goalkeeper Alicia Kahl said. She added, “It’s reassuring. A couple times they get past but I have to do my job. If they do there’s I just have to do mine a few times less.”
Since a 3-3 star New Holstein has gone 20 games without a loss. The players say they are confident in the team’s ability to win close games.
“If it’s a close game we know our team’s going to work hard and come out on top,” Laiken Meyer said. She reiterated that winning close games comes down to heart. “I just think in close games we just work our hardest no matter what. Put it in the goal. We just work our butts off.”
Danielle Brenner agreed that the Huskies’ mindset plays a big part. “I think we’re able to win close games because we never give up. We always try our hardest. No matter what we’re ready for whatever’s thrown at us,” Brenner said.
With five final four appearances in the program’s history and two in the past four years the Huskies are no stranger to the setting. Coach Laabs has faith in what his team can do. “If we come out and we play the way we play. We play a solid defense, possess and pass the ball well, I think if we can do those things and play the way that we can play, and then I think we’ve got as good of a chance as anyone in the state to beat anyone.”
Now all they they have this week at the sate tournament is make it happen.