The Menomonee Falls varsity soccer team’s season came to an end after a back-and-forth battle with Brookfield East on a rain-soaked pitch Thursday evening at Menomonee Falls High School.
The Brookfield East Spartans earned a bit of redemption after losing to the Indians in August on an own goal. This time, the Spartans emerged victorious with a 3-2 win and will move on to face the winner of Whitefish Bay and Cedarburg in the sectional final at Brookfield Central Oct. 29.
The Spartans defeated the Indians’ last year in the sectional final.
A fine mist fell all 80 minutes of the game Thursday, and both teams adjusted to a muddy and slick field. One corner of the field was flooded with nearly an inch of rain, and players splashed as they sprinted for the ball.
The Indians drew first blood in the matchup on a goal from Jake Brust in the 17th minute. Brust received a perfectly timed cross at midfield and managed to remain onside. He beat three defenders down the field and tucked the ball neatly into the corner of the net.
The Spartans answered in the 30th minute on a header from Mike Markusse off a free kick ten yards outside the penalty area.
In the second half, Brookfield East dictated pace and possession of the ball for the first 15 minutes. Then, in the 52nd minute, Spartan midfielder Matt Wilson launched an indefensible shot from roughly 35 yards out that floated into the upper left corner of the net to put his team up 2-1.
On the next best scoring chance for the Indians, Falls’ Nick Gonzales was tackled by the Spartans’ goalkeeper inside the penalty area. It was a play that drew uproar from the crowd, and Falls Head Coach Scott Stein remarked on the play after the game. A missed handball inside the penatly area was also a point of frustration for the team.
The Indians refused to hang their heads, however. In the 62nd minute, Trevor Estock provided a huge lift for his team scoring on a corner kick from Will VanderHorst – who took the field for the first time this season after coming back from surgery.
However, Markusse would score his second goal of the game in the 72nd minute off a cross set up by a short corner kick. He knocked it in from about five yards out. The Spartans would hold off a ferocious Falls rally in the final minutes to secure the victory.
“They played a quick corner on us and caught us with our heads hanging,” Stein said. “I give our guys credit they continued to battle. But when there are two obviously missed calls, and a large penalty disparity, it’s just disappointing. I just want to congratulate our seniors…they are just great leaders and great kids. I’m proud of them.”
The Indians finished 18-5-3 overall this season after graduating 14 seniors last year.