Whitefish Bay — The Whitefish Bay girls soccer team might have got its mojo back Thursday night.
And it can credit sophomore forward Abby Starker with a big assist for that.
Starker scored two goals and had an assist in Bay's 3-0 non-conference win over Waukesha West at Lubar Stadium Thursday. The win got the Blue Dukes, ranked eighth among Division 1 schools in the state coaches' poll and fifth in the area, out of a serious funk that started last week.
Since playing defending Division 1 state champion DSHA to an overtime tie, Bay lost to North Shore rival Homestead, 4-0, then lost another conference match Tuesday to Cedarburg. But on Thursday it dominated West, an honorable mention pick in the state poll and No. 7 in the area.
"This was really big for us to come out and play well, especially after what happened Tuesday," Starker said. "I think we had been playing like individuals, and tonight we came out and played like a team. And we really needed that."
Said Bay coach Robert Williams: "Our confidence was pretty low after Tuesday. We came out tonight and committed ourselves to playing good soccer."
The Blue Dukes (13-5-1) played well in the first half, controlling the midfield and creating a ton of nice chances. Bay's offensive pressure also led to seven corner kick chances in the first half.
Starker put Bay on the board in the 24th minute with a nice piece of solo work. She got the ball near midfield and cruised to the top of the goal box. She sidestepped a defender and fired a shot that skimmed over the hands of West goalkeeper Stephanie Hendren.
West (8-5-4) generated little offense and eventually settled for sending the ball deep and trying to catch Bay's back line off-guard. It didn't really work.
"They played a super game. They were on every ball," said West coach David Zindler. "They played with a ferocity that we did not have. In order for us to get that, I think we needed to see it."
The Wolverines started the second half with a bit of a flurry. Caysi Shouse took a shot that Bay keeper Sarah Platzer failed to corral. West got the loose ball, and Kelly Denk's hard shot hit the right post.
A few seconds later, Angie Berens got a free kick to the right of the goal, but it sailed over the goal.
"I thought we had the better of play in the first 20 minutes of the second half. I thought we had them on their heels a bit with the chances we had," Zindler said. "Last season, every ball that hit a post seemed to go in for us. This year, every one that hits a post against us seems to go in."
That's what Bay senior Kylie Davidson did in the 64th minute. Starker got the ball near midfield, shook a defender and passed to Davidson on the right. Davidson lined the ball to the far side of the goal. The ball nicked the post and went in.
The duo connected again for the Blue Dukes' third goal. In the 79th minute, Davidson sent a ball from the right into the box. Starker, in close, chested it low past Hendren for her second goal of the night.
"We really needed a confidence boost," Starker said. "I think we got it."
First half - 1, WFB, Abby Starker; 23:58. Second half - 2, WFB, Kylie Davidson (Starker), 63:02; 3, WFB, Starker (Davidson), 78:04.
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