Muskego's girls soccer team has faced a difficult schedule to begin its season with each of its first five matches have come against state-ranked opponents.
The defending Division 1 state runner-up Warriors, ranked No. 6 in Division 1 themselves, improved to 2-1-2 on the season by playing Classic 8 rival Catholic Memorial to a 0-0 draw in their conference opener on April 11 before pulling out a 2-0 victory over Brookfield Academy on April 13.
With three of eight teams in the state rankings, the margin for error in the Classic 8 girls soccer title race is slim. It is unlikely the conference champion will have a loss, leaving it important Muskego at least came away with a draw against CMH, the defending state champions and the top-ranked team in Division 3.
"It was a very defensive game," Muskego coach Eric Hess said. "It was the first conference game for both and neither wanted to start the season 0-1 in conference. For us, it was a good result. To get a point on the road was a great result for us."
Lexi Schnittka made three saves in a clean sheet against the Crusaders.
"Both teams put five players in the back," Hess said. "In the second half, we looked to get our wing backs forward to get more services and it nearly paid off when Leah Bolskar hit the post when she settled a cross in the box.
"We were able to get more dangerous chances than they did. Memorial had one real chance. It was a shot from 20-yards out that Lexi Schnittka tipped over the bar. Leah had one more great chance in the first half from the top of the box that went hard right at the keeper."
Muskego entered the Brookfield Academy game having not scored in its last four halves of play. The Warriors quickly ended that by finding the back of the net twice in the first four minutes. Dana Dougherty scored off an assist from Racheal Blair to put Muskego up 1-0 in the third minute. Mackenzie Balcerak scored just a minute later off an assist from Dougherty.
Brookfield Academy, ranked No. 2 in Division 4, put six shots on goal but Schnittka stopped all of them for the clean sheet.
"We had several other chances early that we just could not put away," Hess said. "Academy turned it up in the last 10 mins of the first half when its two amazing forwards got three really nice chances. Schnittka came up with three outstanding saves. We controlled the second half limiting them to one real shot on goal. We hit the post in the second half and missed a few good chances."
Muskego will take next week off for spring break before returning to action at home against Kettle Moraine at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25. The Warriors will then host Dominican at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27.