JACKSON — One goal.
For 82 minutes, Lake Mills and Kettle Moraine Lutheran played scoreless soccer.
Maya Bell put a shot from 12 feet out past Lake Mills keeper Ashley Buth in the 83rd minute to score the only goal of the game for Kettle Moraine Lutheran as it earned a 1-0 victory in a WIAA Division 4 soccer sectional semifinal at Kettle Moraine Lutheran on Thursday.
“Our back line, led by Ashlyn Primmer, Ashli Patrick, Katelyn Kitsembel, Hannah Lamke and Maddie Stewart really did a great job overall against their attack,” Lake Mills coach Jeff Hegstrom said. “Ashley Buth made incredible save after incredible save to keep up 0-0 for almost the entire game.”
Buth finished with 12 saves in the game. Kettle Moraine Lutheran keeper Faith Zulegar made four saves.
“It was a great defensive battle from both teams,” Hegstrom said.
Lake Mills freshman Ava Stelter opened the game with the best scoring opportunity of the game for the L-Cats. She whistled a shot just above the cross bar.
“We did have a few other opportunities throughout the game, but we couldn’t connect on our chances,” Hegstrom said. “It was too bad either team had to lose that game as both deserved to win. Hats off to them, though, for a great battle.”
The L-Cats had not lost since April 9. They finished second in the Capitol Conference with a 4-1-2 record in the league. Overall, the L-Cats were 11-3-5.
“The development from this group from start to finish is arguably the best I’ve ever seen,” Hegstrom said. “The style of soccer we were playing for the second half of the season was inspiring to be around. So much work was put in by the entire team and it absolutely paid off.”
Lake Mills loses five seniors to graduation, but returns a core of underclassmen which Hegstrom hopes can continue the development.
“It’s hard to completely ignore the fact that we return a lot of our core players, but right now the hole being left on the field and in our hearts from the graduating seniors is what we’re focused on right now,” Hegstrom said. “Our graduating seniors are great soccer talents, but even better people. We love them and will miss them dearly.”