A Fight to the Finish

After winning both the WIAA Regionals and Sectionals to advance to the WIAA State Championship in mid-June — where they fought hard to the wire — the Varsity Soccer Team finished the season with a 14-7-4 final record, surpassing goals and with a WIAA second place finish.

Following a WIAA semi-final win against top-ranked Bay Port and a fight-to-the-finish 2-1 game against Muskego in the final, the Dashers walked away with the WIAA Runner- Up trophy — an impressive Division 1 feat for a very young team.
Of the 23 players on the varsity team, only two were returning starters from last season, and six members were freshmen. Early on, these athletes realized the need to come together for a successful season  both on and off the field.
“We had a lot of work to do on learning how to play and grow together,” Varsity Soccer Coach Kevin Roethe (brother of DSHA Athletic Hall of Famer Kelly Roethe Hodges, DSHA ‘96) says. “Once girls understood and embraced their roles, the team played their best soccer. Teammates were supportive of each other and pushed each other.”
With so many players new to the team, athletes spent a lot of intentional time together both on and off the field  — including numerous sleepovers to help the team bond.
“I could tell our team would become close very quickly, and all of the girls were open to building relationships with each other,” Eliza Holton, DSHA ‘19, one of five senior captains, says. “My favorite part of being on varsity this year was without a doubt the friendships I made throughout the season.”
“We fed off the kindness, encouragement, and hard work of our fellow sisters and teammates,” Natalie Esparza, DSHA ‘19, another team captain, says. “We smiled, laughed, worked hard on and off the pitch, and never forgot who we were playing for  — each other.”
Along the way to the state championship, the team gained unexpected confidence from significant wins throughout the season.
“We had a successful trip to Kansas City where we tied Notre Dame de Sion and St. Thomas Aquinas,” Roethe says. “We learned about ourselves as a team. Then on our journey to State, we beat Brookfield Central 3-0, Arrowhead in a shootout, and Bay Port in the semi-final.”
“We came together during both of the Brookfield Central soccer games and the Arrowhead game,” Holton says. “All of these games were huge accomplishments for our team, and it boosted our confidence greatly.”
“We had to prove ourselves and overcome the obstacles from years past,” Esparza says. “I realized that we were a team that shows our stuff through our playing, our grit, not just the score of the match.”
The returning members of the team and Roethe are already gearing up for next season.
“We plan to build on the successes that we experienced this year,” Roethe says. “We hope that our girls put in the time and effort to get better individually over the summer, fall, and winter so that collectively we can begin next season where we left off this year.”
Roethe is optimistic about the future of the team, even though five of its members have graduated.
“The senior class left some big holes to be filled, but the depth of this year’s team was unique,” he says. “I am looking forward to watching the girls step up and fill the roles that have been left open.”
Roethe’s eyes continue to be on the prize  — another well-earned trophy.
“The goal is to return to the state tournament and compete for a state championship.”
1st Team All-State + 1st Team All-Conference: Sydney Schaaf, DSHA ‘19
2nd Team All-State + 1st Team All-Conference: Margaret Mullen, DSHA ‘20
1st Team All-Conference: Sofia Miranda, DSHA ‘22; Catherine Phillips, DSHA ‘19; and Jillian VanTreeck, DSHA ‘20
2nd Team All-Conference: Tyler Rose Ayudan, DSHA ‘21; Eliza Holton, DSHA ‘19; and Sonja Kuranz, DSHA ‘19
Honorable Mention All-Conference: Ahnna Faust, DSHA ‘22; Emilie Harwood, DSHA ‘21
    • The DSHA Varsity Soccer Team celebrates their Division 1 Runner-Up finish on June 15. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


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