(WQOW) -- Sectional Final Saturday is in the books, and for the first time in program history, the Regis/McDonell girls soccer team is heading to the State Tournament.
Facing the three-time defending Sectional Champions La Crosse Aquinas, the Saints struck twice early in the first half. Senior Esme Reinders opened the scoring, while sophomore Anna Daniels booted in the eventual game winning goal a few minutes later. Regis/McDonell used strong defensive play to hold off a late rally from the Blugolds, and punch their tickets to Milwaukee.
"It's hard to describe, it is an awesome feeling," head coach Scott Hoffmann says, "We have been to this point three other times in the past, and we just could not get past this game. We are just ecstatic right now. We've got some physicality on this team that I've never had before, but it was the defense. The defense has just been so tough all year long and it showed again today against a really good team."
The Saints will enter the State Tournament as the second seed, and take on third seeded Kenosha St. Joseph in the State Semifinals Friday, June 15th, at 1:30 p.m.
In Division 1, Eau Claire Memorial came up a bit short in their rematch with Bay Port. Erica Hess broke a 2-2 tie in the 84th minute, the first of two Pirate goals in the final 6 minutes of play, as Bay Port advanced with a 4-2 win. It's heartbreak for an Old Abes team that looked prime for a return trip to State, but the seniors can still hold their heads high after what they've done with this program.
"There's no positive feeling right now, except for just being pleased with the senior class," says head coach Scott DeRusha, "They're such a great group of kids and they've really helped the program since being here. It continues to improve every year with the kids coming through. It's just a wonderful group of kids and I'm looking forward to what the future brings for them."
This was the third straight Sectional Final appearance for the Old Abes. Seven seniors graduate from this year's team.
Two Big Rivers teams did advance to State. In Division 2, River Falls topped Pulaski, 2-0. The Wildcats enter as the fourth seed and will take on top seeded Brookfield Central, Thursday, June 14th at 11 a.m.
In Division 3, Rice Lake returns to State for the second straight season with a 2-1 win over Rhinelander. The Warriors are the fourth seed, and will face top seeded Catholic Memorial, Friday, June 15th at 4:30 p.m.