When it was time for John Burke to grab the latest hardware his incredible soccer team earned, he deferred to his assistant coaches.
Waukesha Catholic Memorial won for the third consecutive time against Mount Horeb for Gold ball rights at Uihlein Soccer Park, this time in the WIAA Division 3 Tournament. The Crusaders weren't threatened by the Vikings, winning 2-0 on June 21.
"I just wanted to honor them because they've been with me. It's not often you have an assistant coaching staff that stays around for as long as they have," Burke said. "I've had Jim Injeski here for 19 years, and Doc's (Tom McCarthy) has been here for 16 years. All the others have been here a long time also (Joe Fricano, Jim Brittain, Mike Bruckner, Mike Previte and Kristin Ruekert). "They're just great people. They teach the girls so well. I just thought it was an appropriate tribute to them."
Emily Cervantes, the top girls soccer player in the state, came into this year's state tournament with 62 goals and 20 assists. She scored four times in the state semifinal June 19 in the victory against Xavier. To say Mount Horeb knew about his accolades was a massive understatement.
"I told Emily before the game this will be one where you are not going to get a lot of accolades," Burke said. "No. 16 (junior defender Tess Baier) did as good of a job as anyone has ever done against Emily Cervantes. We really tip our hats to her."
But the Crusaders are not one dimensional.
"They doubled and tripled her," Burke said. "So that affected their midfield, so I told the girls we're going to be fine. I don't think (junior goalie) Cassidy Lenz had to make a save."
Senior midfielder Cristina From, a focal point on corner kicks, tapped the first one in at the 8:16 mark off a priceless corner kick from sophomore midfielder Mo Burke.
Sophomore midfielder Jo Rolli picked up on junior midfielder Nicole Piette's thinking, timing her through ball to perfection in the 53rd minute.
"What a goal. What an absolutely beautiful goal," Burke said. "Jo Rolli, that was a clinical finish."
Piette knew her teammates would prosper from the added attention given to their star.
"I can play balls down the sideline when they're on her in the middle," Piette said. "She creates so many opportunities for us. It's amazing."
Waukesha Catholic Memorial (24-2-1) outshot the Vikings 14-2, and the Crusaders owned all seven corner kicks Saturday.
"The girls kept their eyes on getting back here. Unfortunately, only one team can win," Mount Horeb head girls soccer coach Mark Newman said.
This was the 10th state championship overall for Waukesha Catholic Memorial.
"For this team with only three seniors and with all the injuries we've had, to put this kind of season together is really something," Burke added.