Entering the WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal, the Verona girls soccer team had tied Madison West in six of its past eight games.
The sectional semifinal didn’t disappoint with a dramatic finish. Madison West junior Tasha Igic scored a goal on a penalty kick in the 107th minute in overtime to hand the Wildcats a 1-0 loss on Thursday, June 17, at the Goodman Sports Complex at Madison College.
The Regents got the opportunity to score the game-winning goal after a hand ball was called in the box.
“It’s a heartbreak to have the game end like that,” Verona coach Jen Faulkner said. “When they called the band ball in the box, there wasn’t a player that gained an advantage.”
The Regents (10-2-1) advanced to a sectional final, where they lost to Kettle Moraine 3-0 on Saturday, June 19.
Both teams had close scoring opportunities in the extra session. Verona sophomore Jenna Albert had a shot go off the crossbar in the first 10 minutes of overtime. Albert displayed a flair for the dramatic with a game-winning goal against Middleton in a regional semifinal.
“It’s still under discussion whether the ball went in the net,” Faulkner said of Albert’s shot. “There were some people that had a better vantage point than me that thought it went in the back of the net.”
Verona senior midfielder Natalie Linebarger also had a shot that went off the post at the end of the first 10 minutes of overtime.
Verona had a slight edge over Madison West in shots on goal 6-5. Verona junior goalkeeper Elsa Queoff had four saves.
“It certainly was an even match,” Faulkner said. “I told them after the game they left their hearts on the field and did everything they could.”
Faulkner said the Wildcats probably had more scoring opportunities than the Regents in overtime.
“We had a lot of good momentum in the overtime period,” she said. “That’s what makes it heart-wrenching to lose.”
One player who was moved up from the junior varsity team who played a larger role as a left side defender is sophomore Sotera Boado.
“She stepped in and did an incredible job,” Faulkner said. “She really shined.”
Verona tied Madison West for second in the Big Eight Conference behind Middleton. The Wildcats tied the Regents 1-1 earlier this season.
“What I will remember the most is how hard they worked for their goal,” Faulkner said.
The Wildcats will have five seniors moving on to the next level, including senior defender Kirstin Poppen, who will play soccer at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., and Linebarger, who will play soccer at Lawrence University in Appleton next year.
Faulkner said it’s the best season the Verona girls soccer team has had in more than five years. A majority of their team will be back next year.
“We will return a really young group that we are excited about, and there will be some additions of players who come up,” she said.