Each of the past two seasons, the Kettle Moraine girls soccer team has found itself in the sectional final. Each time, Waukesha West has stood in the Lasers' way of appearing in their first ever WIAA state tournament.
Kettle Moraine still couldn't get over the hump on Saturday.
The Wolverines got a first half tally and held off a steady second-half attack from Kettle Moraine to advance to their sixth consecutive state tournament.
The lone goal came in the 36th minute as sophomore Katie Grall scored off a beautiful feed from senior Ashley Siewert.
"West came out and played a great first half," Kettle Moraine coach Will Loepfe said. "We were kind of on our heels the entire first half. We were fortunate to come out of that first half only down one.
"The ball got in between our two center backs, and it was kind of a foot race, and our keeper came out and it snuck in."
It was Grall's 21st goal of the season, a school record.
"We had two of our top line players make a play, and that was the difference in the game," West coach DaveZindler said. "That was an amazing ball by Siewert. And Grall is a finisher."
The Lasers (14-4-0) certainly played better in the second 40 minutes but couldn't put the ball into the back of the net.
"I think West had two or three opportunities in the second half while we had many chances," Loepfe said. "That's soccer. It just wasn't our night tonight."
Converting opportunities into goals has been Kettle Moraine's biggest flaw this season. It ended up coming back to get them in the end.
But the Lasers weren't ashamed of the effort and how close the program has come to unseating West (19-4-0) as the sectional's dominant team.
"I'm extremely proud," Loepfe said. "Yes, we made the sectional finals last year, but I think we got better as a team (this year). All those girls are great. They've worked hard all season and are a close knit group. "
Zindler and the Wolverines knew it was going to be a challenge, not only facing the Lasers in this year's sectional final, but in years to come.
"Three of the past four years we've played Kettle Moraine in the sectional finals," Zindler said. "All of those teams have been really good, but this is the best Kettle Moraine team that we've ever played.
"Will has done an excellent job with this program. When the brackets came out, I was hoping they would be the second or third seed so we wouldn't face them until this game. But I also knew that if we got this far that we were going to see that team."
West will face DePere at 2 p.m. Thursday in the WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinal at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. The Wolverines have played in the state championship game in two of the past three years.
West 4, Mukwonago 0
Waukesha West held only a 1-0 lead at halftime but put the game away after the break June 7 in the sectional semifinal. Elle Thaziphon, Michelle Farrow, Rachel Rogahn and Mattie Fuller all scored goals.