Sophomore Thomas Bruneau headed in a corner kick by senior Jack Dallman in the 50th minute, and senior goalkeeper Joe Jochem stopped two shots for the clean sheet as Milwaukee Marquette continued its dominance, blanking Green Bay Preble 1-0 in the WIAA Division 1 boys soccer state final Saturday at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.
It was the Hilltoppers' third consecutive title, and sixth in seven years, and extended their WIAA record to 12 – all coming in the past 17 years. The program has claimed 27 state championships overall in its unparalleled 40-year history, having won 15 titles in the defunct Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association, and has recorded a 754-99-58 record.
Marquette hasn't lost to a Wisconsin team since a 1-0 loss to Muskego in a sectional semifinal on Oct. 24, 2013 – the Hilltoppers are unbeaten in 46 matches against state sides (42-0-4) since then. That year is the only one in its 17 years as a WIAA member that Marquette hasn't qualified for the state tournament.
This was the seventh state title for Hilltoppers coach Steve Lawrence in his 11 years at the helm, second in state boys history behind the 20 won by his mentor at Marquette, Bob Spielmann. Marquette outscored opponents 24-2 in its six playoff matches and posted five shutouts.
- Whitefish Bay (22-2-1) powered to its second straight Division 2 title, dropping Elkhorn 4-0 in the final. It was the largest margin of victory in the 25 Division 2 finals that have been played, and the largest in any state final since Marquette beat Kettle Moraine 6-0 in the Division 1 championship game back in 2011. Junior Matthew Comiskey had a goal and an assist as Bay broke open the game with three goals in 20 minutes spanning halftime and ended up outscoring postseason foes by a 33-4 margin.
- The Blue Dukes' title was their sixth, moving them into sole possession of second place behind Marquette in that category. Interestingly, all of Whitefish Bay's state championships have come in back-to-back fashion; the Blue Dukes won the first two WIAA state titles in 1982 and '83, then won in 1994 and '95 and now 2015 and '16.
- Goals by seniors Julien Riviere and Gerardo Rodriguez during a 5-minute span in the opening quarter hour were enough as Delavan-Darien held off Mount Horeb 2-1, knocking off the Vikings in the Division 3 final for the second time in three years. Ben Stephens scored in the 39th minute to pull Mount Horeb within one, but the Vikings – playing in their fifth state final in the past six years – couldn't find an equalizer against senior keeper Ricardo Huerta (six saves) and the Comets (26-1-2). Delavan-Darien won its six playoff matches by a combined 32-4 score.
- Junior striker Andres Villarreal scored the 85th-minute equalizer and added an insurance goal in the 102nd as Racine St. Catherine's rallied past Winnebago Lutheran 4-2 after extra time to claim its second Division 4 title. Manny Barajas' long-distance strike 57 seconds into the first period of extra time was the game-winner for the Angels (17-6-2), who also worked double overtime for their first state title back in 2009. St. Catherine's racked up an impressive 33 shots in the match, including 14 on frame.
- Villarreal finished with five goals at state, matching Whitefish Bay's Brian Martin (2003) for the most in a two-game state tournament. Villarreal's 11 points on the weekend tied Green Bay Notre Dame's Tony Starnes (2007) for the record for points in a two-game state tournament.
- The WIAA boys tournament featured a record 272 teams this year – nine more than the 263 teams that participated in the 2011, '12 and '15 tournaments.
- Private schools have won 34 of 53 of the boys state soccer titles (64 percent) awarded since WISAA dissolved in 2000 and its members started to join the WIAA.
- Marquette moved up two spots to No. 7 in this week's Top Drawer Soccer Fab 50, and is guaranteed to finish in the top 10 when the website's final rankings of the season are released Nov. 22. The Hilltoppers remained second in the Great Lakes Region rankings, while Brookfield Central (14-1-5) slipped five spots to No. 13 after suffering its lone loss to Marquette 3-0 in the state semifinals. Whitefish Bay is third in the TDS Wisconsin rankings, with Preble fourth and Middleton (18-3-2) fifth.
- The Hilltoppers rose two places to No. 12 in the USA Today/National Soccer Coaches Association of America Super 25 this week, while Preble (25-2-1) checked in at No. 24 after receiving votes in the past four polls. Marquette is second in the Region VI poll, with Preble third and Whitefish Bay seventh.
- Marquette defender Ben Leas and Hartland Arrowhead midfielder Zak Wegner are among 81 prep seniors nationwide who were named to the rosters for the TeamSnap High School Soccer All-America Games, which are Dec. 3 in Raleigh, N.C. Leas, who has verbally committed to the University of Wisconsin, and Marquette commit Wegner will play for the West squad in the boys game. Two UW women's recruits will square off against one another in the girls game: Cammie Murtha, a forward-midfielder from Bethesda Walter Johnson (Md.) is on the East roster, while striker Alexandra Rice of Noblesville Guerin Catholic (Ind.) is part of the West squad.
- Delavan-Darien senior Tigrio Huerta closed out his tremendous prep career ranked in the top five in state history goals, assists and points, according to the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Record Book (pdf). Huerta had 37 goals and 27 assists for the Comets this season, and finished with 121 goals, 85 assists and 327 points in his career. His assist total tops the category – Ashland's Zach Whiting (2011 to '14) and Somerset's Jon Bucklew (2010 to '13) held the previous mark of 67 – and he is tied for fifth in career goals and tied for third in career points. Huerta also holds the single-season state record for assists with 32 in 2014.
- Schofield D.C. Everest senior striker Jack Mittelsteadt led the state this season with 55 goals, according to statistics reported to our partners at the Wisconsin Sports Network – that's tied for the fifth-best total for goals in a season in state history.
- Waupaca senior Seth Boldt, meanwhile, finished with 53 goals and led the state with 28 assists and 134 points. Boldt's point total ranks second in state history behind only Phillips' Shawn Brown, who recorded 145 points last year. Here's a look at the state leaders in goals and assists, or check out the sortable WSN statistics.