With a workmanlike 2-0 victory over border rival Germantown putting the final touches on his team's North Shore Conference champion Tuesday night, Homestead girls soccer coach Rich Dorn could reflect back on a sound regular season and look ahead to the WIAA tournament that begins next week.
"Brookfield East (Greater Metro champ) will likely be the first seed (in the sectional)," he said, "but we could be in a fight for second with (Brookfield) Central. All I know is that the sectional is very deep and that second round (regionals finals) is going to be just very tough."
Sectional seeding meetings are this week.
The Highlanders are a confident group, having finished up the regular season at 6-0-1 in league play and 15-3-2 overall. Germantown, which lost depite a game effort on its senior night, sits at 3-3-1 and 10-5-3.
"I still believe everything is starting to click," said first-year Warhawk co-coach Paul Sikinger. "The last couple of weeks have been very good to us (despite this loss) and our confidence is still high."
What the Warhawks couldn't cope with Tuesday night, was the skill and speed that the Highlanders had up front. They were back on their heels in the first half, but didn't give Homestead any good looks on the muggy, warm evening.
That changed at the start of the second half, as Homestead started pushing even harder, especially junior forward Olivia Tehan. Just 2:30 into the session Tehan made a quick run down the right side just as two defenders closed on her near the top of the penalty box. She managed to squeeze through them and forced the ball past a charging Germantown goalie Maggie Marks.
The ball had just enough energy on it to trickle into the net's far left corner.
Then 14 minutes later, Tehan ran up on a long pass deep in the Germantown zone behind the defense. Marks had to commit and Tehan was able to pound the ball into the far left corner again.
"I just got some awesome crossing passes and all I had to was go and get them," said Tehan, who has combined with sophomore Zoe Ziegler to give the Highlanders a formidable offensive threat this spring.
What impressed Dorn was Tehan's will to get past the defense, no matter how much pressure was put on her.
"That first goal really lightened things up," he said, "and it was just a matter of her having enough heart. She just seems to anticipate better and has such a great first step. It represents a high-level of skill on her part."
Tehan had a simple response for the compliment.
"I just like to go out and score goals," she laughed.
Sikinger was a little disappointed in what he felt were two defensive breakdowns.
"In the first half, our whole goal was to work hard and make sure we didn't lose on our home field (it was the first time that has happened this season for Germantown)," he said, "and we were able to shut them out then, but we just had some miscommunication in the back on that first goal and then we put our heads down a little."
Germantown did fight back though after the second score, as freshman midfielder Vanessa Schneider put a hard bomb on goal with less than 10 minutes to go, but it sailed just over the top of the crossbar.
"I was proud of the way we fought back," Sikinger said. "We tried to push it."
And at this moment, Dorn is pleased with his team's effort and push.
"We have so many new faces out there right now," he said. "This (the league title) is a real credit to all the girls."
Tehan is excited about her team's chances in WIAA tourney play.
"We'd really like to make a statement," she said. "We should get a really good seeding and then we'll go from there."
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