Unprecedented run of state titles for Catholic Memorial continues with record scoring output

The Crusaders continued to dominate Division 3, outscoring opponents 46-0 over six postseason games and 14-0 in two state games.

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Catholic Memorial has a long and storied history in girls soccer.

However, each individual team has its own path and its own story. This group of Crusaders was faced with writing a new script after graduating a senior class that produced 848 career points and won four state championships.

The final chapter of this year's story was written June 17, as Catholic Memorial continued to exert its dominance over Division 3 by collecting its sixth consecutive state title with a 3-0 victory over Winneconne in the WIAA Division 3 state championship at Uihlein Soccer Park.

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"What we talk about every year is that we want to establish ourselves as the finest girls soccer program in the state," Catholic Memorial coach John Burke said. "No matter how large, no matter how small the school is, we want to be the best among all of them.

"That's our goal every year. That's what we are pursuing. I feel like the girls made a good case that they have to be considered one of the top teams in the state of Wisconsin."

Catholic Memorial completed its postseason run outscoring opponents 46-0 over six games, including 14-0 over the state semifinal and final. The 14 goals break an all-division state tournament record set by Brookfield Central over three games in 2002, 2003 and 2005.

Junior midfielder Carly Delforge scored three goals for the Crusaders in the title game, the 14th hat trick in state tournament history.

"Those seniors (last season) were great, but one thing we emphasized this year was that it was a team effort," Delforge said. "One hundred percent, everyone played for each other. That went throughout the entire season and throughout the state run. 

"We emphasized that we wanted a championship with this specific team."

Shannon McWilliams gave Catholic Memorial (17-1-6 overall) a 1-0 lead at the 8 minute, 14-second mark when she cleaned up a loose ball in the box and beat Winneconne goalkeeper Sadi Kosciuk.

Delforge one-timed a cross from Jenny Fuller into the net at 20:06 and scored on a header at 42:35 to leave the Crusaders up 3-0 at halftime.

She finished off her hat trick when she hit a loose ball just over the goal line to make it 4-0 at 56:41.

Making its first appearance at state, Winneconne (23-3-0) played Edgewood to a 1-1 tie in the semifinal before advancing to the final by winning 3-1 in penalty kicks.

The Wolves thought they had scored in the 86th minute, but a foul was called on Leah Kubasta, inflicted upon Crusaders backup goalkeeper Abby Vavra.

"I was very impressed with Winneconne's win over Madison Edgewood," Burke said. "That was just gritty and hard-fought. For them to come back and then have to play us was certainly difficult.

"I was impressed with them throughout. For 90 minutes, they never gave up."  

Catholic Memorial now has 10 WIAA state championships, winning Division 2 titles in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2012 and Division 3 gold balls in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Burke has now won 13 state championships -- 10 in WIAA -- in 23 seasons as the head coach at Catholic Memorial, a program that never finished higher than third place in conference play prior to his leadership. 

"We are goal-setters and are performance-based," Burke said. "We want to be the best we can be. One of the things we talked about is that a program can get a class that propels them for four good years, but let us make a statement that this is a culture. 

"Once you get to six straight, that's making a pretty good case that this is a culture of winning and a culture of championships. We focus on sustaining excellence for the longest period of time." 

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