Five Waupaca girls’ soccer players received postseason honors from the Eastern Valley Conference.
Senior Karissa Smith and sophomore Lizzi Hanke were named to the first team as a midfielder and forward, respectively; junior Mikaila Johnson made the second team as a forward; sophomore goalie Josee Waitrovich made the third team; and sophomore midfielder Sierra Patzke received honorable mention.
“Four underclassmen receiving all-conference honors sets us up for a bright future next season,” coach Mark Polebitski said. “These five players are a huge reason our team had a winning record this year.”
Smith, a four-year varsity starter, was also selected as the team’s most valuable player.
“If there is one player who consistently received positive comments after the game from an opposing coach, Karissa was that player,” Polebitski said of Smith, who had three goals and four assists.
“Playing offensive midfielder is a position that demands physical and mental ability,” he said. “Countless times, Karissa would distribute the ball forward and the next thing you saw was Karissa getting the ball back only to make another play. It was like having two players out there. She never stopped giving her all.
“Few players have the ability to go 80 minutes at full speed and Karissa was that special player,” he said. “Over her career, Karissa played every position on the field, including a short stint in the goal for us for a half. She played hurt the last two seasons, but still managed to earn first-team all-conference honors in both of those seasons. She is an inspiration for all who play sports.”
Hanke finished her second season with 15 goals and 13 assists.
“Lizzi was a playmaker of the field,” Polebitski said. “She played with her head up and was always fully aware of what was going on at all times. We’ve seen her make passes to the open player without ever looking, she just knew where the player was located, and she has one of quickest shots on the team. There were times where her back was to the goal and the next thing you saw was a rocket of a shot going on goal. When Lizzi had some space and time she distributed the ball as well as anyone. She is one heck of a playmaker with the ball.”
Johnson scored 16 goals and added six assists while playing forward and goalkeeper.
“Mikaila Johnson is one of the toughest forwards in the area,” Polebitski said. “She knew how to play with her back to the goal, which is a necessity at the next level of soccer. Her speed, one of the fastest players on the team. She had the potential be the difference in any game. Opposing teams keyed in on Mikaila and usually marked her one on one. Even with that she was still able to score goals. Shot placement is one of her talents. Mikaila recognized when to hit the far post, place a chipshot or just blast away.”
Waitrovich ranked 25th in the state in goals against average, with less than one goal allowed per game.
“Josee played keeper and defender for us this season and settled in as the starting goalkeeper toward the end of the season,” Polebitski said. “She has good hands, solid footwork and tons of goalie presence and was a leader on the field. We could always hear Josee directing the play from the sidelines.”
Waitrovich trained in the offseason in Stevens Point with goalkeeping coach Eric Weiberg in Stevens Point.
“Josee’s efforts helped develop her into one of the best keepers in the area,” Polebitski said. “As a field player, Josee was a dominant force to be reckoned with. She was active at winning the ball and knew how to make the play.”
Patzke earned her second straight varsity letter.
“Sierra controlled the middle of the field offensively and defensively,” Polebitski said. “This is a tough position to play because of the physical demands it requires. She was very tough to get around on the defensive side of play. Rarely does the ball and player get around Sierra and when it did, she was right on it with the tackle. Offensively, she played the transition game very well. She kept her head up and made play after play to get our offense moving.”
Eastern Valley Conference
Girls’ Soccer Teams
Midfielder: Erin Riley*, senior, Fox Valley Lutheran; Kristin McAdow*, sophomore, Winneconne; Karissa Smith, senior, Waupaca; Megan Gresl, senior, Appleton Xavier; Aimee Conley, sophomore, Appleton Xavier.
Forward: Molly Page*, senior, Fox Valley Lutheran; Fallon Peplinski*, junior, Appleton Xavier; Kelsey Gonyo, senior, Berlin; Lizzi Hanke, sophomore, Waupaca.
Defender: Ashley Bovee, junior, Appleton Xavier.
Goalie: Tarynn Theiling, junior, Appleton Xavier.
Midfielder: Vanessa Blake, senior, Berlin; Hailey Johnson, sophomore, Fox Valley Lutheran; Sumer Opinker, senior, Winneconne.
Forward: Shannon McCluskey, senior, Freedom; Mikaila Johnson, junior, Waupaca; Anna Sobal, sophomore, Appleton Xavier.
Defender: Jessica Retzlaff, sophomore, Fox Valley Lutheran; Abigail Goss, junior, Fox Valley Lutheran; Meagan VandeVen, senior, Little Chute; Jaclyn Weiler, senior, Winneconne; Nicole Schuh, senior, Appleton Xavier.
Midfielder: Helen Joyce, freshman, Fox Valley Lutheran; Cami Gerritts, sophomore, Freedom; Isabella Kohl, junior, Appleton Xavier; Krysta Burghardt, senior, Winneconne.
Forward: Katie Collier, sophomore, Clintonville.
Defender: Amaya Bruce Allington, senior, Berlin; Kelsey Raasch, senior, Clintonville; Alyssa Cooke, senior, Ripon; Sarah Gregory, junior, Appleton Xavier.
Goalie: Taylor Lemiesz, junior, Ripon; Josee Waitrovich, sophomore, Waupaca.
Midfielder: Meredith Wilson, junior, Fox Valley Lutheran; Nicole VanDenEng, junior, Freedom; Erin Hurst, freshman, Little Chute; McKenna Joosten, sophomore, Little Chute; Sierra Patzke, sophomore, Waupaca.
Forward: Courtney Swanlund, sophomore, Winneconne; Kyla Simons, senior, Winneconne.
Defender: Kayla Vanasten, senior, Clintonville; Emily Cox, junior, Berlin; Meredith Miller, junior, Winneconne.
Goalie: Megan Hess, senior, Berlin.
Players of the Year: Fallon Peplinski, junior, Appleton Xavier (offense); Ashley Bovee, junior, Appleton Xavier (defense).