The Menomonee Falls boys soccer team withstood an early goal by Wisconsin's prep pitch empire Marquette Tuesday night at Quad Park in a Greater Metro Conference showdown.
They held their own throughout the first half, with coach Scott Stein swapping people in and out as fast he could to keep them fresh and to give the Indians a chance at breaking down the Hilltoppers' backline defense.
And they even got that opportunity in the 14th minute, when senior forward Ayoola Olapo got free on a breakaway, brought the Marquette keeper out and then got the ball just far enough beyond the goal line before it was smothered to tie the game.
The 1-1 tie at the break left the ninth-ranked in state Indians jubilant and thinking maybe, just maybe that this is the year that Falls would beat Marquette (something that has never happened).
But it was not to be as just four minutes into the second half, the top-ranked in state Hilltoppers showed why they have dominated Wisconsin prep soccer for almost the entirity of the new century.
Marquette midfielder Alex McBride found junior forward Christian Elliehausen on a quick give-and-go off the right side near the box and Elliehausen then ripped a frighteningly fast shot to the far left low corner of the net that Indian goalie Brendan Paule had no chance.
And before the Indians had a chance to regroup, the Hilltoppers put even more pressure on and the Falls defense became disorganized.
As a result, Marquette defender Mike Wabiszewski was all alone on the right corner of the box. Forward Jackson Weiss found him with an easy pass and Wasbiszewski nailed another shot that Paule had no chance at as the Marquette lead improved to 3-1.
In the space of 58 seconds, Falls went from having a great opportunity to having none at all.
"For some reason we just came out flat in that second half," said Stein. "The things we needed to do and talked about doing at halftime, we didn't execute. It was just very disappointing."
Marquette added one more insurance goal later in the half and Falls did create a couple of pretty good opportunities but neither came close to going in, as Marquette won 4-1.
With the win, the Hilltoppers improved to 7-0-2 overall and 4-0 in Greater Metro play, while Falls fell to 8-3-2 and 3-1 in GMC play.
"We really picked up our intensity in the second half," said Marquette coach Steve Lawrence. "We created a lot of pressure and we were able to put in two quick ones. When you do something like that, you' re able to possess the ball easier and then make the other team chase."
The Indians did maintain their intensity for more than 30 minutes after Olapo's tieing goal in the first half.
"Falls did a good job of getting people in and out quickly moving them around," said Lawrence. "They were making us work hard and and were really trying to wear out our back line."
"But we were able to get our composure back and then started to play the ball wide and use the entirity of the big field (Quad's regulation size pitch). We're much better when we do that."
Stein was a bit discouraged.
"We played a good first half, but we couldn't maintain our intensity," he said. "Make no doubt, they (the Hilltoppers) deserved to win, but we made them look better than they should have. ...We just didn't have the defensive discipline that we should have in the second half."
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