Green Bay Women’s Football Notre Dame Lost Division 3 State Title Game

Milwaukee. On Friday, the Green Bay-Notre Dame women’s soccer team beat the reigning state champions, but its season ended a day late, one win short of the title.

New Berlin Eisenhower beat Notre Dame 6-1 in the WIAA Division 3 Championship game on Saturday at Uihlein Soccer Park.

It put the finishing touches to the Lions’ dominant campaign, which seemed destined to end with the program’s first title after they took to the big stage as the highest ranked team in the state and the #1 seed.

The Tritons pulled off a thrilling shootout victory in the semi-finals against McFarland, but they were no match for Eisenhower’s explosive attack, led by two NCAA Division I recruits in senior linebacker Lauren Hernandez and senior forward Taylor Rinzel.

The duo scored four of their six goals, including a hat-trick by Hernandez.

It probably didn’t help that Notre Dame played 100 minutes of physical football with McFarland. Going against Eisenhower is already hard enough.

“I know that (Friday) I was the most on the ground in all games,” said senior defensive end Sarah Hardwick. “I know everyone was a bit beat up, but we rested and recovered a lot. I think everyone was a little hurt, but I think we were hoping they would be too.”

Instead, the Lions picked up where they left off in the semi-finals against Lakeland Union. They scored four goals in the second half of that game and had two more goals in the first 16 minutes, 42 seconds of which scored Notre Dame in the early hole.

Sophomore linebacker Mary Kowitz opened the scoring with a goal in the 8th minute from a pass from sophomore linebacker Sarah Stadler before Stadler assisted another goal from Hernandez in the 17th minute.

A two-goal lead in football is often considered the most dangerous of all moves, but the Lions made it 3-0 in the 35th minute thanks to another goal from Hernandez, who dominated the tournament in the state before heading to play in Iowa.

Hernandez, who was one of seven Eisenhower players to score 28 or more points in the regular season, scored four goals in two state games.

Rinzel, who will play for the University of Kentucky, also took part in the game against Notre Dame.

She almost sealed the win in the first minute of the second half, leading her team 4–0 with her third in the state.

Notre Dame finally hit the board in the 52nd minute after senior winger Stella Kuene’s goal, but Eisenhower reacted almost instantly to Hernandez’s third goal.

Both Hernandez and Rinsel finished the season with 30 or more goals.

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“We knew they were going to be probably the most dangerous team we’ve seen on offense,” Notre Dame coach Nick Brown said. “We made a game plan, but we were thrown at a lot. Our defense held up, but they were definitely better today.”

The Tritons had one of the best goaltenders in the area in senior Carlin Goral, who was selected to the first team in all conferences at the Fox River Classic.

But there was little she could do against an attack that landed 21 shots, including 14 on goal.

Hernandez and Rinsel made 13 attempts together.

It was the 10th time in the last 11 games that the Lions had scored four or more goals, leading their opponents 62–9 during that time.

That they did so against the Notre Dame defense was even more impressive considering the Tritons hadn’t conceded more than two goals in any of the previous 13 games and conceded two or fewer goals in 27 of 28 games this season.

The previous maximum allowed was four goals in a mid-year win over Sheboygan North.

The score would have been even more lopsided were it not for some good saves from Goral, who made seven of them before being replaced late by Emma Skalecki.

“Even until the very end, Carlin kept diving, stretching saves like she always does,” Brown said. “She’s a damn good player. We will miss her.”

The Tritons just ran into a team of Lions that had been preparing for this moment ever since they were out of state last season.

Eisenhower had eight starters and all three reserves for the team that lost to McFarland in the semi-finals.

By comparison, Notre Dame brought back four of 11 starters in a D2 title game against Whitefish Bay last season, with several sophomores playing key roles.

The Tritons wanted to return home with the program’s second Golden Ball and their first since 2018, but they still added equipment to an already stacked trophy box.

Notre Dame was runner-up for the fifth time, including three times in D2 (2002, 2003 and 2021) and once in D3 (2015).

It starts every season with the goal of reaching that point. It was by far one of the most successful programs in her run, with her 14 state appearances being the second most in history with Brookfield Central and just one less than the Waukesh and Nin Catholic Memorial.

There are many reasons to believe that the Tritons may return in 2023.

He will lose nine players before graduation, including FRCC Player of the Year Maggie Tillman along with Hardwick and Goral, but there’s a lot of talent coming back given all the youth he’s shown this season.

“Once we get to this game, we know we’re coming home with equipment,” said Hardwicke, who has been a two-time state basketball champion in the past two years. “Great. You always hope it’s gold and hope for the state championship.

“But it was what we worked for all season, it was this moment and this game. It’s great to achieve these goals.”

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