Anderson, McCourt, Burling lead talented squad

Burlington goalie Cora Anderson soars for a save last season. (Rick Benavides/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

A model of consistency, the Burlington varsity girls soccer team took a major leap in 2017.

The five-time defending Southern Lakes Conference champions finally cleared the playoff hurdle of beating Milton and advanced to the school’s first sectional final.

They weren’t content in simply making it and took a state-ranked Oregon squad to overtime, losing 1-0.

It was a breakout game for goalie Cora Anderson, who dazzled with 14 saves despite receiving IV treatment for the flu earlier that day.

The monumental leap in performance has a chance to be duplicated and perhaps surpassed this season, as Anderson, SLC player of the year Morgan McCourt and first team all-conference midfielder Jessa Burling form a potent head of the Burlington soccer monster that’s poised for an elusive trip to the state soccer tournament.

“Our team is led by Jessa and Morgan, our senior captains and multiple all-county and all-conference award winners,” said head coach Joel Molitor, now in his seventh season.

“Despite graduating several starters from last year’s team, we expect to compete for the conference title again this year, especially with the talent of the incoming freshmen and returning underclassmen.”

A healthy 45 athletes are in the Burlington High School soccer program.

The Demons (15-2-3, 8-0-1 SLC last year) are the favorites to win a sixth straight crown in the SLC, but Union Grove features a host of young talent and Elkhorn is always a factor despite the loss of Division 1 Central Michigan recruit Olivia May.

The Elks aren’t the only squad affected by the injury bug, as Burlington sophomore midfielder Amelia Crabtree, a key piece in last year’s run, will miss most of the season with a leg injury.

Currently, Crabtree is on crutches, but she said there’s a possibility she could return by the playoffs in June.

Along with Burling and McCourt, fellow seniors Adriana Castillo (MF) and Megan Oliver (GK) are back.

Other key returners include juniors May Jagodzinski (MF) and Cassidy Askin (D), along with sophomores Serra Brehm (GK), Crabtree and midfielder Gracie Geyso.

Molitor is excited about his incoming freshmen, namely midfielders Sam Naber and Victoria Van Dan.

Naber was the starting libero on the state champion volleyball squad last fall.

Anderson, a first team all-SLC and second team all-Racine County pick, only allowed nine goals all season and finished with 67 saves. She allowed .74 goals per match.

McCourt is the leading returning scorer with 30 a year ago. She added six assists, second-most to Ashlyn Barry (10), who is a UW-Madison freshman. Barry was the second-leading scorer with 11 goals.

Crabtree and Burling each scored five goals last year.

Graduated seniors Hannah Anderson (UW-La Crosse) and Lexie Reesman (Viterbo) both play college soccer.

Molitor will be joined on the sideline by assistant coaches Jeremy Fitch, Steve Mehring, Mackenzie Ferstenou, Ryan Cardinal and Andrew Gauger.

 

Schedule

(HOME MATCHES)

April – 6-7: Invite at Woodside Sports Complex, Wisconsin Dells. 10: at Menomonee Falls. 12: BELOIT MEMORIAL. 17: at Oregon. 24: at Waterford. 26: ELKHORN. 28: RACINE ST. CAT’S, 10 a.m. May – 1: at Westosha Central. 4-5: Racine County Invite at Union Grove. 8: UNION GROVE. 11: at Wilmot. 15: DELAVAN-DARIEN. 18: BADGER. 22, 24: SLC tournament.

 

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