Bavarian SC is back on top of the state's top amateur league, adding to its lengthy history by coming back twice to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 in the Wisconsin Soccer Leagues Major Division final July 18 at UW-Milwaukee's Engelmann Stadium.
"We knew it was going to be tight, we knew it was going to be a good match," Bavarians manager Pat Hodgins said. "It was an entertaining match for people to watch."
Dorian O'Lochlayne (Milwaukee Marquette/UW-Milwaukee) scored twice, including the 75th-minute winner, and Milwaukee School of Engineering midfielder Logan Andryk (Milwaukee Marquette) added the other goal as the Bavarians claimed their 17th state Major title since 1973 – easily the most in that time span.
It was their first championship since 2011, which was in stark contrast to the Brewers, who were in a Major final for the first time in 40 years. But in the past four decades, the Bavarians have only once gone more than four years without a title.
"It was not overdue, but it was due," said Hodgins, who took over the side in 2012. "When we took over, we were kind of going through a roster overhaul, finding that next wave of college kids and to come in and play. We feel like we have a really good group of guys right now that are committed to Bavarians and what we're trying to do. Hopefully, this is the start of really good things for us."
The Brewers (12-7-3), who were seeded second in the six-team Major playoffs, took the lead twice through Christopher Tinker (Cardinal Stritch) and Nick Wilson, but couldn't beat the fourth-seeded Bavarians (15-8-5) for a third time this season.
"Just getting there for the first time in 40 years ... that was kind of a hell of an experience," said Brewers manager and midfielder Andrew Davis (Concordia), whose team beat Bavarians 2-0 last October and 4-1 in a spring season opener in April. "We had a couple of breakdowns that kind of cost us the game.
"It's very sad to get that far and not have the desired result that you're hoping for. But looking back at it, we set out with a goal when we first (returned as) a Major side to try to win the league ... Finishing second, the only team that beat us twice was Croatians. ... Looking back on everything, it was a hell of a year."
Some combination play between Davis and Jordan Gyuricza in the midfield led to the opener roughly 7 minutes into the match. Davis then played a long ball down the left flank for Gyuricza, who took a few touches and played a ball across the box that found its way to Tinker and eventually got past Marquette goalkeeper Kyle Gress.
"It was one where you didn't think it was going to get through, and then it got through," Davis said of the pass, which he thought would be cut out by a Bavarians center back. "(Tinker) got a toe on it and redirected it. The keeper got a hand on it, then I think it hit the post and then went in."
O'Lochlayne got the first equalizer of the night in the 35th for the Bavarians, who were without regulars Tighe Dombrowski (West Allis Hale/UW-Milwaukee), Dan Holowaty and Declan Rodriguez of UW-Milwaukee because of injury.
Also, Kyle Zenoni (Hartland Arrowhead/UW-Milwaukee) couldn't play in the match because UW-Milwaukee's Nick Moon (Waukesha West) was in the lineup. Zenoni is an assistant coach for the Panthers and NCAA regulations prohibit him from playing with one of his team's players.
The Brewers struck early again in the second half to regain the lead – very early.
Off the kickoff, midfielder Jason Rogers (Glendale Nicolet/Concordia) got the ball to Davis, who in turn found Victor Mendoza (Concordia) just over the midway line. He quickly played it to Wilson outside the box on the left corner of the arc.
"He took a touch square to the goal ... the ball was bouncing and Nick took a hit off the bounce on a half volley and this thing was a wonderstrike," Davis said of the goal by the former Michigan State player just 30 seconds after halftime. "I can't speak for the rest of the league, but this was the best goal that I've seen all year.
"You always know you can do it, but (when Wilson scored) it was like, 'We might actually do this thing today.' "
On the other side of the touchline, Hodgins had a different reaction.
"The kid hit a 25-yard bomb, it was a good finish. He put it upper 90, good hit, well-deserved goal," he said. "It was like, 'Great, now we have to chase the game again.'
"They defended with a lot of guys behind the ball for a lot of the match, so it was hard to break them down at times. But we had opportunities ... They were coming, it was just a matter of putting them away."
About 25 minutes later, the Bavarians were level again. Marquette left back Adam Hermsen (Appleton North) got the ball out wide, beat a defender and whipped in a cross that Andryk finished with what Hodgins called a half-diving header.
"We felt pretty good that we were going to get another one," said Hodgins, who was proven correct just 5 minutes later when O'Lochlayne finished a through ball from Moon to give Bavarians their first lead of the night with 15 minutes to play.
But there was still one more moment of drama.
A ball was played into the Bavarians' box, skipped up off the turf and hit the arm of a defender, and the referee awarded the Brewers a penalty with roughly 10 minutes left. Scott Lorenz (UW) usually takes penalty kicks for the Brewers, but he was out of town at a friend's wedding. So Davis stepped to the spot looking to forge a tie.
"I had my Baggio moment," Davis said, referring to Italian star Roberto Baggio's missed penalty that gave Brazil the 1994 World Cup (Watch) – he blazed his shot well over the goal. "It was a dare to be great moment and I dared, but definitely wasn't great in the moment. It's one of those moments I'm going to live with for the rest of my life."
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: Jason Allen; Jacob Streicher, Jacob Pope, Tom McBride, Jason Rogers; Ben Gyuricza, Tyler Harris; Jordan Gyuricza, Andrew Davis, Nick Wilson; Christopher Tinker. Substitutes (open): Victor Mendoza, Jamie Robertson, Justin Wachowicz, Brad Mallman, Nick Van Pay.
BAVARIAN SC: Kyle Gress; Adam Hermsen, John Mau, Richard Johnson, Dennis Holowaty; Logan Andryk, Brett Dietz, Michael Alfano; Nick Moon, Jake Taylor, Braden Andryk. Substitutes (open): Dorian O'Lochlayne, Adam Nelson, Jamie Bladen, Charlie Hoover, Michael Skow, Quinn English, Kevin Strong.
2014-15 Wisconsin Soccer Leagues Major Division champion: Bavarian SC