Like looks, records, too, can be deceiving.
Such was the case for the Columbus prep girls soccer team this spring, as the Cardinals won just once on the campaign but played to four draws — and of their five losses, three of them were by only one goal.
In fact, in their last loss of the year — a 4-2 defeat at the hands of Watertown Luther Prep in the WIAA Division 4 regional semifinals — the Phoenix’s fourth goal came in the final seconds. So, in reality the Cardinals played 10 matches this season and either won, tied, or lost by just one in nine of them.
All of this is to point out that the Cardinals were a lot better than their 1-5-4 record might indicate, a notion underscored by the fact they landed five girls on the All-Capitol Conference postseason awards list.
Leading the way is defender Abbi Olson, a senior who was picked to the first team.
What made her so strong, Cardinals coach Gerald Jacobson said, was “her patience.”
“She let the play develop in front of her,” he added. “She wouldn’t dive in. And she learned how to build out from the back — starting our attack from the back line. That helped us out quite a bit this year.”
Making the second team were senior forward Ashley Olson and junior defender Andrea Diaz.
Ashley Olson had six goals and five assists but more importantly was a Swiss Army Knife for the Cardinals.
“Very athletic, all-around player,” Jacobson said describing her. “I could put her in multiple positions. She used her strength and speed on the front line to help us generate more offense.”
Like Abbi Olson, Diaz was a force in front of the net — and in fact, she even played a few games in net as the goalkeeper when starter Kayla Hunt had to sit with an injury.
“High soccer IQ — knows the game very well,” Jacobson said of Diaz. “Another patient player. It was very difficult to get through Abbi and Andrea so a lot of teams were forced to play in wide areas or go over the top — play more direct — because of those two.”
Columbus allowed one or fewer goals in four games and allowed four or more just twice, with one of those times being in the regional semifinals when the fourth goal came almost literally as time expired.
Also helping out on the back end for the Cardinals was junior defender Zoe Denk, who along with sophomore forward Reese Moorad garnered honorable mention on the all-conference list.
Denk moved from an outside midfield position to defense when Hunt got injured and Diaz took over as goalkeeper.
“Great speed. Endurance to play the entire game,” Jacobson said describing Denk. “What she enjoyed most was disrupting other teams’ attacks, and she saved our center back’s butt a few times with her speed.”
Moorad finished up her sophomore campaign with five goals and four assists. But more importantly, she gained valuable experience in anticipation of taking over for Ashley Olson next season as the team’s primary striker.
“Positioned herself very well finding seams and channels to work in,” Jabobson said. “Between her and Ashley the give-and-go worked very well creating offense for the team.
“She’s learning. I’m looking forward to a pretty productive career out of her the next couple years.”
Columbus took sixth in league play with six points (1-3-3) while New Glarus/Belleville (Sugar River) won the championship with a perfect 21 points (7-0).
But it was Lake Mills — the eighth-ranked team in Division 4 in the final Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association statewide poll — that garnered the league’s top individual honor as junior forward Ava Stelter was chosen as the Player of the Year.
She finished the season with 35 goals for the L-Cats, who tied Luther Prep for second place in the league with 12 points (both with 3-1-3 records).
Player of the year — Ava Stelter, Jr., Forward, Lake Mills.
Forward — Ava Stelter, Jr., Lake Mills; Jaylynn Benson, Sr., Sugar River; Katie Schoeneck, Soph., Watertown Luther Prep. Midfielder — Kirstin Krantz, Sr., Sugar River; Megan Tauscheck, Sr., Watertown Luther Prep; Taylor Peterson; Sr., Lodi; Hana King, Sr., Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld. Defense — Emma Anson, Sr., Sugar River; Lily Zimpelman, Sr., Watertown Luther Prep; Paige Leonard, Jr., Sugar River; Bella Brenkman, Fr., Sugar River; Hannah Lamke, Sr., Lake Mills; Abbi Olson, Sr., Columbus. Goalkeeper — Ryleigh Kulow, Soph., Lake Mills.
Forward — Mia Murray, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran; Callie Smith, Jr., Sugar River; Ashley Olson, Sr., Columbus. Midfielder — Jenna Gentilli, Fr., Sugar River; Kaci Everson, Soph., Lake Mills; Kendra Wilson, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran; Rachel Schoeneck, Jr., Watertown Luther Prep. Defense — Kaelyn Tatro, Soph., Lodi; Andrea Diaz, Jr., Columbus; Brianna Herrling, Sr., Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld; Cate Mitchell, Sr., Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld. Goalkeeper — Morgan Thompson, Jr., Sugar River.
Forward — Ava Wollin, Sr., Lake Mills; Gwen Childs, Sr., Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld; Grasyn Schmidt, Jr., Lodi; Reese Moorad, Soph., Columbus; Lily Scheutz, Jr., Lakeside Lutheran; Sabrina Rodriguez, Sr., Cambridge/Deerfield; Maggie Schmude, Jr., Cambridge/Deerfield. Defense — Lily Maynard, Fr., Sugar River; Regyn Jelle, Sr., Sugar River; Francesca Schiro, Sr., Sugar River; Keera Payne, Soph., Wisconsin Heights/Barneveld; Mia Pollasky, Sr., Cambridge/Deerfield. Defense — Vivian Guerrero, Sr., Lake Mills; Emma Slayton, Soph., Watertown Luther Prep; Zoe Denk, Jr., Columbus; Ella Ristow, Fr., Lakeside Lutheran; Breanna Ezzell, Jr., Cambridge/Deerfield. Goalkeeper — Lillian Runke, Sr., Lakeside Lutheran.
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