By Steve Hill

April 29, 2019

During a month in which rough weather has played a key role in the the high school girls’ soccer season, the D.C. Everest Evergreens have fashioned their own storm: goal after goal after goal flooding the nets of their opponents.

With Everest’s 9-1 victory over Wausau East in a makeup Wisconsin Valley Conference game Monday, the Evergreens took over sole possession of first place with a 5-0 record and 15 points in the table. East coach Melissa Murphy hasn’t seen her team match up with Wisconsin Rapids or Wausau West yet, but says Everest already seems to be “taking the cake” in WVC play.

“They’ve got one heck of a dynamic offense,” she said after the contest.

The Evergreens got three goals from 2018 all-state midfielder Maddie Simpson, as well as two from Meghan Heil and one each from Maria Esker, Sarah Lorge, Brenna Raasch, and Alanna Schneck.  Simpson, Heil and Schneck also earned assists, as did Elle Hersperger and Dakota Corallo.

Everest, 8-0-1 overall, is scoring just under 6.2 goals per WVC game so far in its wins over the next five teams in the table. It will wrap up the first half of play when it travels to seventh-place Merrill Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game.

The Evergreens moved up to No. 5 in the latest state coaches’ poll, released late Monday night. Everest is behind No. 1 Brookfield Central (5-0-1), No. 2 Waunakee (8-1-2), No. 3 Arrowhead (4-1), and No. 4 Kimberly (6-1). Bay Port (7-1) is No. 6.

No rest for the Lumberjacks

East, meanwhile, will have the unenviable task of playing on the road at second-place Wisconsin Rapids (6-3-1, 4-1 WVC), followed by a Thursday league game in which it will host Merrill.

It will then finish up a long week with a Saturday quadrangular tournament at Wausau West, taking on West in the first game, which will count as both qualification for the tournament final and a WVC contest. Because the two needed to make up an earlier WVC postponement caused by foul weather and were both going to be in the quad, it became a convenient double-dip opportunity.

The winner of that game will play the winner of the Superior-Appleton West contest for the tournament championship.

“We’re not really taking anything for granted in any of the games, and we’re excited to see where the week takes us,” Murphy said.

The second game of Saturday’s tournament will provide valuable experience against a non-conference opponent, which Murphy had hoped to have against Rhinelander on Monday after an earlier postponement. But rescheduling of the Everest game took precedence.

While high-scoring sophomore Abby Thompson has drawn a lot of attention and is playing well, Murphy had good things to say about freshman Lily Messman and Kiki Liss-‘s-Gravemade.

“Our underclassmen have really astounded me. No offense to our upperclassmen who have provided great leadership,” she said.

“Both Lily and Kiki are playing defensively and playing with a knowledge of the game that you would expect to see from an upperclassman, so it’s going to be really fun to see them develop over the next couple of years.”

Marshfield roaring on in non-conference play

The Marshfield Tigers, sitting in fourth place in the WVC with a 2-3-1 record and 7 points, are the only team to have finished out the entire first half of play and will have Tuesday night off. But the Tigers got a good tuneup for the week in with a 4-0 shutout of Ashwaubenon at home late Monday afternoon.

That brought Marshfield up to 5-5-1 overall. It  was the team’s second shutout of an Eastern Wisconsin opponent after an earlier 5-0 road defeat of Hortonville.

The Tigers got a goal from Kate Schilling off a Sophie Gruenling assist, and then Schilling assisted Courtney Meyer as Marshfield took a 2-0 lead.

Unassisted goals from Nina Hashimoto and Nicole Simon rounded out the scoring. Coach Steve Lindner likes the scoring punch his team has been showing, but knows he’ll need it against the top three teams in the league after getting outscored 14-4 by Everest, SPASH and Rapids in the first round.

“Until we beat one of the big three, we’re going to be looking up at them. We’ve got the opportunity in the second half, starting this week,” he said. Marshfield hosts SPASH, a 4-1 winner between the two on April 9.

“I think the passing has been getting a little bit better, and I think the team is starting to gel a little bit more and play together with some continuity, possession of the ball and moving into space a little bit better,” he said.

He also likes the depth his team has been demonstrating this year. While he made a pitch for junior Anna Paape being the top defender in the league, he also said he was pleased to get sophomore Aly Dietsch substantial game time at deep sweeper Monday, and said a number of other substitutes have been getting good time in as well.

“Having a deep team is really helpful in the playoffs,” he said.

Despite a forecast for continued wet weather in the early part of the week, Lindner said the Griese Park Field was in good shape Tuesday and should stay that way.

“There was a little bit of dew on the field, but it was playable tonight, so I’m hoping for a nice solid field the rest of the week,” he said.

SPASH, Rapids fields also looking good for Tuesday

Coaches for the two teams immediately ahead of Marshfield also were also watching the weather and checking field conditions Monday, but were confident they’d get their Tuesday games in.

Rapids coach Nate Cleveland said the Washington Elementary field is good to go against East Tuesday, and he’s ready to get his players back on it.

“We’ve had a rash of illness from the end of last week heading into next week,” he said via text Monday. “We just need to get more vitamin C and some sun.”

Meanwhile, SPASH head coach Allie Rogesheske is hoping for both some literal and metaphorical sunshine after getting shut out 4-0 by state-ranked Bay Port and 2-0 by De Pere in a De Pere tournament this weekend.  While it may be drizzling for Tuesday’s 7 p.m. contest against West at the Portage County Youth Soccer complex, she’ll hope her team turns things around quickly.

“The field is aerated and rolled, so that’s good. We should be on tomorrow,” she said late Monday.

While the weekend was rough, she’s trying to keep the bigger picture of the second half of conference play in mind.

“They were two quality opponents, so we learned a lot about ourselves,” she said.

“Against Bay Port, we were holding them to one, moving the ball pretty well, and playing the game we wanted to play, our style,” she added. “But then we lost focus for like 15 minutes and allowed three more.

“The score wasn’t completely reflective of the game, but if you let down on a quality opponent, that can happen … it will expose your weaknesses.”

SPASH is 6-5 overall and 3-2 in the WVC, while Rapids is 6-3-1 (4-1) WVC.