Noah Malcook had been uncharacteristically quiet as of late.

Malcook — the Panthers’ second leading scorer heading into the state final — had just one goal during the last seven contests.

So Oregon head coach Chris Mitchell challenged the junior forward to put his mark on Saturday’s state championship.

Malcook rose up to the challenge with two goals and an assist to power the Oregon boys soccer team to a 3-1 win over Whitefish Bay in the WIAA Division 2 state championship game on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

“He (Malcook) showed up huge,” Mitchell said. “I could just tell the first 10 minutes, his step, touch and pace were where we expected it to be and I knew he was going to be a difference maker and he was.”

With the win, Oregon finished the season with an unbeaten record of 22-0-3.

“It doesn’t feel real, it kind of feels like a movie,” senior captain Eli Lehmann said. “You hear that whistle blow and you see that scoreboard and you think, we really just had an undefeated, state championship season.”

Malcook assisted the first goal of the game to senior Alex Rodriguez early in the first half. Malcook broke a 1-1 tie in the second half after he drew and converted on a penalty kick. He drilled the dagger with his second goal in the 75th minute, making it 3-1.

“The past few games I don’t think I’ve been performing the best,” Malcook said. “I think I stepped up big tonight.”

Hard to disagree.

“The man showed up when we needed him the most,” Lehmann said.

Malcook connected with Rodriguez — who was able to speed past the Blue Duke defense and slot his shot into the back of the net — in the third minute to give top-seeded Oregon a quick 1-0 lead.

Second-seeded Whitefish Bay (19-4-2) equalized in the 15th when Mitchell Dryden scored on a header. The two teams headed into halftime tied at 1-1.

In the 46th minute, Malcook drew a penalty kick as he was dribbling with his back to the goal. Malcook took the PK and kicked it off the post and into the net to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

“I just had pure belief in myself,” Malcook said. “Penalty kicks, a lot of it is just mind games. You just have to have the confidence and belief in yourself you’re going to put it in the back of the net.”

Rodriguez was carried off the field with 20 minutes remaining after the senior was tackled hard in the box. Without Rodriguez — Oregon’s leading scorer heading into the state final with 19 goals — the Panthers’ went back to Malcook.

Once again, he was up for the challenge.

With five minutes left in regulation, Malcook spun off a Whitefish Bay defender and buried his shot high with his left foot at the top of the box to extend the Panther lead to 3-1.

“It was so nasty, it was so nasty” Lehmann said with a chuckle.

“It was magic,” Malcook added.

Oregon’s defense did its job the final five minutes as the Panther players headed to its student section to celebrate shortly after.

“We dug down and found that energy to finish the game,” Mitchell said.

Whitefish Bay came into the state final averaging four goals per game, but was held to just one on Saturday.

“It was one of the best defensive efforts I’ve ever seen,” Lehmann said. “Luke (Bennett) and Quinn (Belville) both had goal-line clearances to keep the ball out of the net.”

Malcook called Casey Schoenecker a lockdown defender as the junior helped hold the Whitefish pair of Dryden and Ben Grimm — who both had 29 goals heading into the state final — to just one goal total.

Senior goalkeeper Casey Farrar finished with four saves.

“It was special, they (defense) played a heck of a game,” Lehmann added.

The Blue Dukes defeated Oregon 6-1 in the state final in 2017 to cap off an undefeated season. The state title was Oregon’s fourth overall and third since 2012. The last time the Panthers won a gold ball was in 2018.

“We had so much fun together,” Lehmann said. “Every time we were together we had so much fun. I can’t believe it’s done. It doesn’t feel real. But hey, if we were going to go out one way, we were going to go out with a championship.”

Recommended for you