MILWAUKEE — The biggest reason New Holstein made Saturday’s Division 4 girls soccer state title game — its defense. The Huskies were so stingy on defense they weren’t allowing even one goal per game.
But for just the second time this season the Huskies allowed two or more goals and it cost the Huskies dearly, as they fell, 2-1, to Assumption at Uihlein Soccer Park.
“We couldn’t solve their offense,” New Holstein coach Nate Laabs said. “Our defense was great, our No. 1 strength all year, but whatever they were doing offensively we could not match up with.”
For at least one half, though, New Holstein (19-4-3) looked like it was on pace to win a state title. It led 1-0 off a Laiken Meyer goal — her team-leading 23rd goal of the season — and trying to play catch-up against New Holstein isn’t ideal.
However, in the second half, Assumption looked energized, outplayed the Huskies and had a 15-2 advantage on shots. This led to two goals and a state title.
“I have to give them credit,” said Laabs, whose team fell to Assumption in a 2011 state semifinal. “They came out and took the game, we didn’t give it to them. They just came out and fought that second half and took it. They deserve a lot of credit for that for sure.”
Meyer didn’t feel her team put its best foot forward after halftime.
“I think we let the one goal get to us,” she said in reference to when the Royals tied the game at 1-all. “We kind of let off. We should’ve just kept fighting. We thought we had it and they got the momentum into the game and they made things happen and we couldn’t get out of it.”
New Holstein was trying to win its second state title in five years and become the first girls team to win a Division 4 state title as this is the first year for four divisions.
Meyer summed up how the team felt afterwards, saying, “I think it’s more disappointment. I don’t think it’s sad it’s over, I think we’re disappointed how we let the game get out of our hands.”
The silver lining in it all, is New Holstein gets a silver ball. Not what it had in mind.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay