With the 2018-19 school year in the books, here is a look back at some of the biggest games, players and moments from the Lake Geneva region’s sports teams.
The top 10 featured here represent by no means an exhaustive list of impressive performances, and there are outstanding athletes who will not make the list because of the difficult constraint of choosing just 10 moments.
10. Badger soccer senior night shutout
The Badger boys soccer team did not quite have the season they dreamed of, finishing in the middle of the pack in the Southern Lakes Conference with a 7-10 record. However, during one of their most meaningful games of the season, the team looked like world-beaters.
Badger had its Senior Night game on Sept. 27 against Wilmot, and the Badgers picked up a dominant mercy-rule victory 10-0.
By halftime, the team was already up 7-0. In the 57th minute, sophomore Riley Bauman scored a goal to put the Badgers up 9-0, meaning the next Badger goal in the game would end it.
From that point on, the Badger players did their best to get the ball to senior Eric Castro in an effort to get the senior his first goal of the season on senior night. After a handful of near-misses, Castro scored in the 69th minute to ice the game.
Castro was not the only senior to have a strong game, though. Cole Goff scored a goal, and Orlando Mondragon and Zach Simmons each had a goal and an assist in the game as well, to give the senior class a night to remember.
9. Bay volleyball rallies back in playoffs
After a 3-0 win in the first round of the playoffs, the four-seed Williams Bay volleyball team had a home matchup against the five-seed Brodhead Cardinals on Oct. 18.
While the seedings would suggest the two teams were evenly matched, the game was a back-and-forth contest that lived up to the close seeding. Even though the Cardinals won 3-2, the fact that it even went to five sets is a testament to the determination of the Bulldogs.
The Cardinals won the first set in extra points 28-26, then capitalized on a couple of hot streaks in the second set to go ahead 2-0, just one set away from a 3-0 sweep victory.
With their season on the line, the Bay fought back, winning the third set by a decisive 25-18 margin to make it 2-2, then won a gritty extra-point set 29-27 to tie it at two sets apiece.
In the final set, the two teams swapped the lead until it was tied 12-12, with the first to 15 winning the set. The Cardinals were able to win three straight points to win the match, but to come that close after the early adversity was an incredible effort.
8. Badger football clinches playoffs in final game
Badger’s football season did not start off well, as the team fell in the first four games of the season, giving them little room for error in the remaining five games.
After going 3-1 over the next four games, the Badgers had a shot at keeping their 12-year playoff streak alive in the last week of the season, needing a win when they hosted Union Grove on Oct. 12.
The Badgers were able to win that game 28-20 to extend their playoff streak to 13 consecutive years.
Union Grove took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but after Badger senior Hunter Wrzesinski scored a three-yard rushing touchdown early in the second quarter to go up 7-6, the Badgers never trailed again.
While the Badgers went on to lose to Mukwonago 35-15 in the first round of the playoffs, to extend the playoff streak that spans head coach Matt Hensler’s tenure was quite an accomplishment for the program.
7. Bulldogs basketball pulls off massive comeback
Williams Bay’s boys basketball team was a young squad that struggled early in the year, but came on strong near the end, giving hope that the team could make some noise next season and beyond.
The pinnacle of this past season, though, was a 71-68 overtime win over Trailways Conference rival Deerfield on Feb. 7.
Deerfield started the game strong, jumping out to a 15-1 lead to start the game, and stretching the Bulldogs’ deficit to 21, 33-12, with four minutes left until halftime. Williams Bay cut the gap to 18 by halftime, but still faced a nearly insurmountable challenge if they hoped to win.
They caught fire in the second half, though, cutting their deficit down to three with less than a minute in the game.
Sophomore Jaden Randall sent the game to overtime with a three-pointer with seven seconds on the clock, and sophomore Ben Venteicher completed a three-point play with two minutes left in overtime to put the Bulldogs ahead for good.
Despite never leading in regulation time, and trailing by as much as 21, the Bulldogs managed to pull out a gutsy win for a bright spot in an often-challenging season.
6. Badger softball wins first playoff game since 2014
The Badger softball team has been on the upswing for the past few seasons. After only winning one game in 2016, the team jumped up to 10 wins the following year, and this season, for the first time since 2014, the Badgers won a playoff game.
Badger faced off against Janesville Craig in Lake Geneva on May 21, winning a low-scoring affair 4-0.
A pair of seniors played crucial parts in the win, capping off their careers in a big way in the postseason.
Senior Madison Hunt made a momentum-killing defensive double-play in the second inning, and hit a two-run double in the fifth that brought the Badger’s lead to 4-0.
Senior Seneca Peterson hit an RBI single in the fifth and then scored on Hunt’s double. However, her biggest contribution was on the mound, where she threw a complete-game shutout, striking out nine and only allowing four base runners.
While the Badgers had some important seniors, overall they had a young team and will be in good shape to make a deeper run than this season’s one win in the coming years.
5. Big Foot/Williams Bay girls soccer wins regional title
After falling in the regional final two years in a row, the Big Foot/Williams Bay girls soccer team got over the hump this season and won the regional title June 1 in a 2-1 road victory over Shorewood.
The ChiefDogs lost 6-1 the last time the two teams met in the regional final in 2017, and this year’s win showed how much the team has grown in that time.
Shorewood took a 1-0 lead just 15 minutes into the game, but 10 minutes later, senior Abby Peterson scored the equalizer. Just 10 minutes after tying the game, Peterson scored again to give the ChiefDogs the lead.
BFWB buckled down on defense for the rest of the game, and freshman goalkeeper Maylani Venegas made plenty of stellar stops to hold Shorewood scoreless for the remaining 55 minutes to close out the win.
By winning their first regional championship since 2016, the ChiefDogs advanced to the sectional round, where they lost 3-0 to Catholic Memorial — a respectable defeat at the hands of the eventual state champion.
4. Pair of Big Foot basketball players hit 1,000 career points
Before the 2018-19 basketball season began, only two Big Foot boys and three Chiefs girls had ever hit 1,000 points in their careers. However, throughout the course of the season, two current Chiefs players joined that exclusive club.
On Jan. 3, boys basketball senior Logan Eischeid came into a home contest against Edgerton with 993 career points. With just under six minutes left in the game, he scored on back-to-back possessions to surpass the 1,000-point mark.
With 14 games left in the season after hitting 1,000, Eischeid was able to get his total up to 1,227 for his career.
A little over a month later, on Feb. 19, in the Big Foot girls basketball team’s first-round playoff game, junior Reagan Courier scored nine points in the game’s first minute and 52 seconds to hit the 1,000 point plateau, becoming the first junior girl to reach the milestone.
Reagan not only became the fourth Chiefs girls player to hit 1,000 points, she became the third Courier sister to hit 1,000 after Morgan Courier accomplished the feat in 2015 and Jordyn Courier hit the mark in 2010.
Courier ended the season with 1,029 points, but with a year to go in her high school career, she will likely add a couple of hundred more to that tally.
3. Badger tennis and golf teams continue dominance
For the Badger boys golf team and the Badger boys and girls tennis teams, winning the Southern Lakes Conference and sending athletes to the state meet has become the norm. While the regularity may make the achievements draw fewer headlines than first-time winners, the consistency is incredibly impressive.
In boys golf, the Badgers won their fifth straight conference title, won their fourth sectional title in the past five seasons and made their fifth consecutive state meet appearance. Once they got to state, they had their best finish in the streak, placing third as a team, with senior Blake Wisdom finishing in a tie for third overall.
Badger’s boys tennis team won its fourth Southern Lakes title in a row, then sent four players to the state meet, where senior Mason Sniatynski and junior Jordan Lauer both advanced further in the tournament than they had in years past.
Meanwhile, the girls tennis team won its third straight conference title in impressive fashion, as every player on Badger’s varsity team finished in first place in the conference tournament. They went on to win the sectional meet by 16 points when the winner typically wins by only a point or two. At the state meet, the Badger team played a close 5-2 match against eventual runner-up Divine Savior Holy Angels and had six players at the individual state meet as well.
With all those accomplishments, head coach Paul Lauterbach said this team was the best in his coaching career.
“I think, from sheer strength at the high end, and depth, this is probably the strongest girls team I’ve coached in 30 years. Probably better than most of the guys teams, too,” Lauterbach said.
2. Badger girls golf makes first state meet
In 2017, Badger golfer Holly Murphy qualified for the state meet to become the first Badger girls golfer to compete in the tournament. In 2018, the Badger girls golf team achieved a few more program firsts.
The regional playoff round saw not only the lowest 18-hole team score in school history when the Badgers shot a 347, it also saw the first individual regional champion when Murphy placed first with a 74. Murphy shot a 74 in the next round as well to claim the top spot in the sectional meet for the first time in Badger history.
That solid performance by the team leader helped the Badgers finish second in their sectional, three strokes ahead of Janesville Parker, 379 to 382. With that second-place finish, the Badgers found themselves in the state meet as a team for the first time.
Once they made it to Madison, the team did not finish at the top, taking 11th out of 12 teams. But having that experience under their belt for the first time gives the Badgers a higher bar to strive for in 2019 when four of their five state meet golfers return.
“Hopefully we can just try to improve our finish at state — that’s the new goal. We not only want to make it, but see how good we can actually perform once we’re there. So that’ll be exciting,” Holly Murphy said.
1. Harry Melges wins skiing state title for second year in a row
For most athletes, winning one state title is a goal they can only dream about. So when Big Foot senior Harry Melges won the Wisconsin Interscholastic Alpine Racing Association’s skiing state championship for the second straight year on Feb. 18, it was an unprecedented achievement.
After a fourth-place finish in the giant slalom and a second-place finish in the slalom, Melges was three points behind the leader, Caden Bence of Arrowhead, meaning Melges would have to finish four spots higher than Bence in the final event of the championship, the Super G.
Melges did just that, finishing first while Bence placed sixth, giving Melges the come-from-behind victory.
As if winning back-to-back state titles is not impressive enough, skiing isn’t even his main sport; Melges and teammate Finn Rowe are Olympic sailing hopefuls who travel around the world in preparation for Olympic qualifying events.
His ski coach, George Loomans, believes that level of adaptability and athleticism is what allowed the Big Foot senior to win a pair of state championships in his second-best sport.
“You don’t see athletes like this come around very often. I think Harry could be a top-notch athlete in any sport he did, which is really pretty amazing to have that kind of talent,” Loomans said.