Dream season ends with heartbreaking loss for Rockets

Cedar Grove-Belgium girls' soccer team edged by one goal with only 90 seconds to go in Division 4 state championship

Member of the Cedar Grove-Belgium soccer team consoled each other after losing to Kenosha St. Joseph’s in the Division 4 state championship game at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee Saturday. Photo by Mitch Maersch
Ozaukee Press Staff

It wasn’t the color they were looking for, but Cedar Grove-Belgium’s soccer players still came home with medals around their necks – along with bumps, bruises and aches – from the Division 4 state soccer final at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee on Saturday.

The Rockets lost a heartbreaking physical battle, 2-1, to Kenosha St. Joseph’s, after the Lancers scored their second goal in the final 90 seconds.

“We really shocked the world. I didn’t think we would make it this far,” senior co-captain Jessica Rose said.

“This was supposed to be kind of a rebuilding year for us. I’m so incredibly happy with how we finished,” said senior co-captain Brittany Teunissen, who left the game in the 63rd minute after sustaining a concussion.

The two captains were the ones who got the Rockets back in the game.

The Lancers’ goalkeeper tried to kick the ball up the middle of the field, but it hit Rose, who tried to dribble past her. The two battled for possession and the ball ended up squirting over to Teunissen, who had nothing but net in front of her since the keeper was out of position at that point.

Teunissen calmly booted the ball into the net for one of the easiest goals of her career.

“I saw Jessica taking it up so I knew I had to follow her. And I originally thought I was going to make a wide run left. And then Jessica got caught up and the ball was just there, so I quick ran up to keep the high pressure we wanted to have,” she said.

“And then I saw the net was wide open and I think time just kind of like, stopped. I placed my feet and I passed it into the back.”

That knotted the score at 1-1 after the Lancers scored on a header off of a corner kick in the sixth minute.

The tie nearly lasted until the end of regulation.

The Lancers had played much of the last 30 minutes on the Rockets’ side of the field, keeping the pressure on. The Rockets kept turning away scoring threats until a Lancer got the right corner and approached the goal. Rocket goalkeeper Brooke Braga made a diving save to her left to stop the shot, but the ball bounced back to a Lancer right in front of the net. She put in the rebound with 1 minute, 47 seconds left to play.

“It was just I got that first save, and I couldn’t get back quick enough. My defense wasn’t there. It was just lucky. Nothing you can do about that,” Braga said.

Braga made four saves.

Shots were nearly even for the game, with the Lancers having an 11-10 edge.

Fouls were not. Coach Elias Garza said the Lancers had 20 to the Rockets’ four. They also earned two yellow cards to the Rockets’ none.

It was the most physical game the Rockets have been in all season.

“Honestly, I think it’s kind of ridiculous that they weren’t calling more. They were throwing things left and right and they weren’t getting called. I’m kind of upset about it, but it is what it is,” Teunissen said. She said her concussion came after a Lancer hooked her arm and took her to the ground.

Garza said he told his players to keep their heads.

“We encouraged the girls to make sure that they stay composed, that they do not retaliate because we could not afford any cards, any fouls, any set pieces being called against us,” he said. “I thought these girls played in a very respectful manner.”

As far as the season goes, it was the best in school history. A few Rockets weren’t sure they’d reach the title game.

“I knew we had the players to get this far. I just didn’t think it would ever happen. This is something you dream of, it’s not something that usually turns real,” sophomore midfielder Abby Kraus said. “And it turned real for us. It still doesn’t feel real and we just ended.”

The Rockets had already made history by being the first girls’ team to qualify for state. Now, they’re the first to come home with hardware. The best season the in girls’ program history ended with a 16-2-1 record.

“It was just a team effort. I’m so proud of everything they’ve done. They left it all out there,” Garza said.

Due to the hot weather – the temperature was 85 and the heat index was 88 at the start of the game, with 54% humidity and a dew point of 54 — one water break was taken in each half. Clouds rolled in during the second half and the heat subsided.


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