The Eau Claire Memorial soccer team continues practice this week after an exciting win on Saturday against Hudson in a shoot out. They will now will play the first round of state on Thursday.
"It was definitely a battle. We give a lot of credit to Hudson. They're a great team but we came out battle strong," said junior forward, Mandlenkosi Cronk. "We've been battle ready since last year when they beat us in the sectional final to go to state. We had a chip on our shoulder. "
The Old Abes only have three seniors on their roster. Head coach David Kite says in his eight years coaching at Memorial this group brings a unique quality than in years past.
"They bring a real high energy level, and they bring a lot of confidence in their youth if that makes sense," says Kite. "They kinda enjoying the challenges and not really thinking about them and trying to get out and put in 80 minutes every time we wear an Old Abe shirt."
This will be Memorial's 8th state appearance and fourth time in the last five years. Their opponent is no stranger to the tournament. Marquette has made 13 straight appearances and have won 8 of the last 12 titles, including in 2002 beating the Old Abes.
"It's playoff time, and as everybody knows anything can happen,"adds Kite. "We've competed against some of the top 10 teams in the state this year and beaten them or played well against them so we definitely go in on Thursday feeling like we have a chance."
"(We) Just play for each other. That's what we try to do every game is play for each other and leave it all on the field," says Cronk.
"Come down to heart and determination and we all have that," says sophomore forward, Marcus Wollak. "We're going into it kind of as underdogs knowing Marquette has won state and we're gonna want to beat them out first round."