With a big part of their offense sitting out the first half, it took the gutsy play of Brookfield Central freshman goalkeeper Rachel Oleson to keep her team in a WIAA regional championship game Saturday afternoon at Homestead.
But the Lancers offense couldn't get its game together and dropped a 2-1 decision to sixth-seeded Cedarburg (14-3-1) and saw their season come to an end with a 15-6-2 record.
The third-seeded Lancers scored first when junior forward Sarah Baker rolled in a shot right in front of the net for a 1-0 lead 9 minutes, 41 seconds into the match.
Central had a corner kick from the left side and there was a scramble in front of the net. The ball came out to Baker and she kicked in the score and immediately threw her hands in the air to celebrate.
But then the tide changed as Cedarburg sophomore Josie Stiever drilled a shot into the upper left part of net to tie the game at 28:01.
Then two minutes later, sophomore Taylor Skorik ripped a shot into the right corner for a 2-1 halftime lead.
The Lancers played the first half without senior star Gina Scaffidi, who had eight stitches in her right toe. But the gutsy Scaffidi threw away her crutches and tried her best to help the Lancers in the second half.
"It was tough, it's always hard in playoff games - if you know you lose, you're out, especially as a senior," Scaffidi, back on her crutches, said afterward. "It's tough to sit out. It was really unfortunate that this had to happen. It was bad timing.
"I gave my all, everyone did. It was sore, but that's what I wanted to do and the team needed me."
Central coach Jason Burdge was hoping he didn't have to use his injured senior.
"Today any doctor would have told you not to play her," he said. "I didn't want to have to play her. She's obviously our top player. I don't want to make excuses, but we're definitely better with her than without her.
"Gina all year for four years has been our go-to player pretty much. For me, as a coach, being with her for four years, even Katie (Mahkorn) and our other seniors, I felt we were good enough to compete with any team. I feel like I let those girls down.
"I'm not out there executing, but I'm a human being and I feel terrible, disappointed."
For most of the second half, the Bulldogs dominated the Lancers and kept them away from their goal, while Oleson kept the Lancers in the game with one brilliant save after another.
The Lancers got nailed with two yellow cards for the players and one on an assistant coach as it was not to be Central's night.
"I don't know why we weren't attacking," Burdge said. "The girls know what was going on; what the score was.
"It was a matter that we panicked a little bit and got away from what we did all season. It was our lack of execution, just a lack of execution.
"But Cedarburg played a great game. I thought they deserved to win."
Burdge then complemented his first-year goalkeeper, who made some acrobatic saves to keep the Lancers within one goal.
"Rachel Oleson. You are going to hear that name a lot. She is going to be a stud. Without her play it could have been a lot worse.
"She kept us in it. She was the spark that gave us some energy. Rachel is good and she's going to be good for awhile."
The Bulldogs snapped BC's eight-game winning streak and increased their own to four in a row and eight out of nine. They will now face Homestead, which beat Sussex Hamilton, 1-0, at 5 p.m. Thursday at Homestead.
Mahkorn scored one goal in each half and the third-seeded Lancers beat 14th-seeded Pius XI on June 2 at Brookfield Central.
The senior forward scored 24 minutes, 55 seconds into the match on a pass from sophomore Sarah Fotsch to give the Lancers all the points they would need.
Mahkorn then iced the game when she scored at 56:04 on an assist by senior Aly Zuba. Oleson had four saves.
REGULAR SEASON FINALE
Brookfield Central 4, New Berlin Eisenhower 2 - The Lancers beat the Lions, 4-2, on May 31 at Ike to end the regular season. Katie Mahkorn had two goals and an assist and Ashley Mcbain had two goals to lead Central. Aly Zuba, Sarah Baker and Josie Nordling added assists.
The Lancers led, 2-1, at halftime, then Central and Ike exchanged goals in the first three minutes of the second half before Central scored at the 54-minute mark to put the game away.
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