Homestead head coach Rich Dorn wanted to see a complete 80 minutes of soccer from his girls on Saturday afternoon. He got what he wished for.
Sophomore Coco Wiencek struck for the Highlanders just six minutes into the game, and host Homestead never relinquished control in a complete 3-0 victory over Sheboygan South in a WIAA Division 1 regional final June 7.
"It's really a mindset," Dorn said. "It's been a point of emphasis for us over the last three weeks to continue to connect passes and move forward. We were able to do our best, control the midfield, and get into our attack from the outset."
Controlling possession from the opening moments, Homestead (14-5-2) scored on a beautiful combination of passes, as senior Mikaella Sabinash dished to junior Alyson Rausch for a center pass to the left foot of Wiencek, who hammered it home for the quick 1-0 lead.
"Aly (Rausch) was able to make a play on it and get it over to me. I was wide open and I was able to put it in," said Wiencek.
Much of the first half was played on Sheboygan South's end, as Homestead continued to pressure the Red Wings with a series of passes and runouts. The Sheboygan South defense held firm until the 27th minute, when another crisp set of passes resulted in a goal by senior midfielder Katarina Rosich, putting the Highlanders up, 2-0. In a give and go with sophomore Kelly Eyers, Rosich passed and took a hesitation dribble on the return before tapping the ball past Sheboygan South goalkeeper Camber Posewitz. The Highlanders would carry the 2-0 lead into halftime.
"The girls are creating options and making great decisions, with and without the ball, and putting the defense in really tough situations," said Dorn. "They just keep getting better and better."
The Red Wings threatened more in the second half but could not string together the passes and consistent possession necessary to break through the Homestead defense.
"Once we fell behind, I think we played a little too panicked and weren't connecting out passes," said Sheboygan South head coach Paul Rivas.
Sheboygan South forward Rachel Van Sluys threatened on a few long runouts but was unable to free herself from two and often three Highlander defenders protecting the goal.
"Ideally, our offense carries the ball up to Van Sluys, and then we can play off of her," said Rivas. "We weren't able to hold our possessions and play like we wanted to."
Rosich netted her second goal of the game in the 63rd minute, launching a rocket that tucked just inside of the top right corner of the goal to give the Highlanders a commanding 3-0 lead. Sheboygan South didn't seriously threaten thereafter.
"We haven't played a team as good as Homestead at clearing the ball to offensive players and getting them in space," said Rivas. "It took us some time to adjust."
Homestead advanced to play at North Shore conference rival Germantown (13-5), who defeated Fond du Lac 4-0, at 7 p.m. June 12.
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