The Catholic Memorial soccer team is in the business of breaking records. On June 18, Memorial won its fifth straight WIAA state championship — a feat never accomplished before by a girls or boys team — with a 5-0 victory over Belleville/New Glarus. CMH now has nine WIAA titles, which is the most ever by a girls team.
'This year, we had to overcome quite a bit of adversity throughout the entire season,' Memorial coach John Burke said. 'I think every team has to do that to some extent when you play this long into the postseason, but I like how these kids handled it. They stuck together, and we had to play quite a few lineups. We had to play without our center mid, without Carly Delforge and Morgan Rymer much longer than I would ever want to again. Everyone stepped up.'
Emily Cervantes concluded her decorated high-school career with 13 state-tournament goals, which broke Ozaukee's Ashley Bares record of 11. Against Belleville/New Glarus, Cervantes scored Memorial's first goal 15 minutes, 36 seconds into the game. Sixty-two seconds later, Abby Piette sent a cross into the box for Cervantes, who finished the opportunity for a 2-0 advantage. At 77:38, Cervantes, who took 11 shots, achieved a hat trick for a 4-0 lead. It was her 50th goal of the season.
'The remarkable thing about Emily is not that she scored 13 goals; it's the fact she scored in so many of the eight games,' Burke said. 'You can have one game where you have seven or eight goals, but if you look at all those games, Emily scored in almost every single one of them. That's the great value of Emily Cervantes.'
In the state semifinal against Notre Dame, Cervantes scored both of Memorial's goals in a 2-0 win.
'We came out strong every game,' said Cervantes, a Tennessee recruit. 'We had it in our minds that we had to score the first goal. I feel it's important to score the first goal, because it gives us a lot of momentum going forward.'
CMH dominated this year's postseason, outscoring opponents, 41-1.
'It's remarkable,' Burke said. 'It all starts with (sophomore keeper) Lili (Berg). Here we have a kid who backed up Cassidy Lentz last year and knew she was stepping in as a sophomore, and was going to have to carry the heavy load. She did so remarkably well all season long.'
At 69:55, Jo Rolli put a ball in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead. Delforge added the fifth goal at 78:55 off a pass from Kelsey O'Brien.
This year's seniors included Riley Christensen, Rolli, O'Brien, Aeleesa Medina, Alex Brittain, Cervantes and Maureen Burke.
'Their personalities are so different from each to each,' Burke said. 'That's been refreshing. You could never deal with them as senior captains. You really always had to deal with them as Aeleesa, Riley, Alex, Mo, Emily. You had to deal with them as individuals, and I liked that. That was an interesting part of the season.'
For Rolli, 2016's championship was in a different category than in years past.
'It's definitely 10 times more special doing it as seniors,' Rolli said. 'The group of seniors I've been with these past four years — and basically beyond since we all played (together) before — it's just amazing. We came into freshman year not expecting any of this. Seeing this in the end is just awesome. It's exhilarating.'
Memorial finished with a 23-1-2 record.
'We didn't get complacent with where we were,' Rolli said. 'We just kept fighting. We didn't take teams too lightly. Grafton, we were all going in nervous. The score ended up way more in our favor than we thought, and the same with Notre Dame. It's just our heart and will. The entire team can keep on pushing through anything.'