The bouquets of roses they were given at halftime Tuesday to commemorate senior night were lovely for Homestead soccer players Olivia Tehan and Aubrey Quick.
And their positive, realistic attitudes after the Highlanders' 2-0 win over North Shore rival Germantown matched the roses' beauty in a way.
"It is just wonderful to be able to do this (win on senior night)," said Tehan, who assisted on Kate Wirthlin's first half goal that put the Highlanders up for good. "We really wanted to get to a higher level of play tonight."
"We had been struggling somewhat," said Quick, "so it was good to see some of our hard work pay off with a good, solid performance against a tough opponent that we really had to be ready for."
And both of the seniors, two of eight in the Highlanders line-up, admitted that they would be guilty of a little scoreboard watching later this week. The Highlanders, who finished up in league play at 5-1-1 and 15-1-2 overall, will need some help if they want a share of the North Shore title.
Grafton (5-0-1 and 19-1-3) can clinch the title outright with a win against visiting Cedarburg (4-2, 11-3-1) on Thursday. A victory by Cedarburg will create a tie between the Blackhawks and the Highlanders, who had engaged in 0-0 tie earlier this spring.
"We need a little help on Thursday," said Coach Rich Dorn, "but we've done what we can. It was a good win tonight, against a good solid side."
"And it is interesting. They even delayed putting out the (WIAA) sectional rankings until after tonight's games because there were so many important match-ups."
Homestead will close its regular season at home on Thursday at 7 p.m. against a good Menomonee Falls squad.
The Highlanders' only blemish on their slate so far was the ill-fated 2-1 NSC decision at the hands of an inspired though short-handed Whitefish Bay unit two weeks ago.
"That was a serious wake-up call for us," said Tehan. "It really snapped us awake and showed us that we weren't invincible. Ever since then, we've really stepped it up at practice."
It took a little while for the Highlanders to demonstrate that point against the Warhawks (4-2, 9-4-1) as on the windy and cool night Germantown was able to put a lot of pressure on the homeside team, earning five corner kicks in the first 20 minutes, including three in succession at one point.
"I think it really took us a good 20-25 minutes to get organized," said Dorn, "but people like Kate (Wirthlin), Lindsay (Jagla) and Olivia (Tehan) really got us back into a good rhythm where we were making good passes and making good plays."
That effort first paid off at the the 33:29 mark of the first half as Wirthlin got free on a breakaway and took a nice pass from Tehan about 20 yards out with no defender in front of her. She then zipped the ball into the left side of the net for the lead.
Then early in the second half, the Highlanders made one of those confident, aggressive plays that Dorn has been looking for for awhile.
Quick was out on an island with no one around her about 35 yards out. She got the ball right at her feet and then launched a hard, sailing shot that peeled away from the Warhawk goalie and into the upper left hand corner of the net just 2:34 into the second half.
"Getting that first goal, especially against the wind was really important," said Dorn. "and Aubrey's shot early in the second half was just very decisive."
"This is such a tough league to play in," said Quick. "It prepares us so well for any other team we have to face."
Other seniors earning their roses tonight were Emily Jakubiak, Claire Lindsay, Caitlin West, Jagla, Emily Haefner and Kim McGinnis.
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