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Sugar River punches ticket to state
MOUNT HOREB - Sophomore Kalin O'Rourke and senior Taylor Legler each scored goals to lift the Sugar River girls soccer team to a 2-0 win over West Salem in a WIAA Division 3 sectional final Saturday to qualify for state.

Sugar River (23-2-2) posted its fourth straight shutout of the tournament and 16th this season.

Sugar River freshman goalkeeper Rachel Heittola had 10 saves and was a big part in the Raiders' clamping down on West Salem. It's Sugar River's first trip to state since 2004.

"I'm excited for the girls," Sugar River coach John Ziperski said. "The journey has been enjoying the whole trip. There have been years we have had the talent, but the situation didn't work out. You have to have a little bit of talent, luck and the situation working out for you. That can add up to a great opportunity."

The big opportunity will be a state semifinal showdown where Sugar River plays Seymour (16-4-6) at 5 p.m. Thursday at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

Sugar River senior defender Hannah Jones went down with a knee injury Saturday in the first 10 minutes and didn't play the rest of the game. Her status for the state tournament is not certain.

Ziperski said he's not sure the extent of the injury.

"We are hopeful it's less serious than we thought," he said. "With the warm weather, I was really proud of our bench. We definitely needed our backups."

O'Rourke gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead when she scored a goal on an assist from junior Esther Noriega at 20 minutes, 29 seconds. The Raiders were clinging to a 1-0 lead before clinching the win late in the second half.

Legler scored a goal on a pass from senior Nicole Sanders at 82:40 to ice the victory.

Heittola and junior Madeline Bartles along with the Raiders' defenders were perfect in shutting down West Salem's attack. West Salem entered the game averaging five goals per game and had only allowed seven goals all season.

"Rachel had an incredible game," Ziperski said. "She had some terrific saves."