Here are the Div. III Sectional Champion B-W Blackhawks. Submitted photo
Here are the Div. III Sectional Champion B-W Blackhawks. Submitted photo

Submitted by Coach Krzysztof Nickowski, and Todd Clark, WIIA

BALDWIN, WI – The Baldwin-Woodville Boys varsity soccer team has qualified to play at the 37th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIIA) Boys Soccer State Tournament that will take place Thursday-Saturday, November 1-3 at KOHLER Engines Stadium at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After a successful run in the Sectional play-offs, the B-W Blackhawks will face Pius XI Catholic on Thursday, November 1 at Uhlein Park.

The soccer Spear defeated Rice Lake (RL) 3:1 and Mosinee 4:2 to earn a #3 seed in the WIIA state tournament today and a chance to be State Champions on Saturday.

“Rice Lake at Mill Pond Park” -- On Thursday, October 25, 2018 the Blackhawks defended their home field to win a Regional Championship. Rice Lake a formidable opponent pushed home to the limits. A very well played game was fun to cheer on by a great crowd of supporters of both teams.

B-W opened the score in the 9th minute after a Jacek Nickowski's shot was deflected into his own net by a Warriors defender.

The Home team continued on a front foot but could not find the back of the net. The Rice Lake Warriors brought a well-organized defense to deal with Blackhawks Co-Captain #17 Jacek Nickowski. Jacek was pressed and defended well. He had to work very hard for any scoring opportunity. The 4:1:2:3 formation stifled the senior forward for the remainder of the first half. The Hawks defense was equally effective against the Warriors. A tremendous offensive effort was exerted by the home team to keep the Warriors scoreless in the first 45 minutes. More excitement and scoring were presented to the fans in the second half.

Jacek Nickowski received a sweet flick of an assist from Frank Cartuche and evading four defenders finished exquisitely with the outside of his right foot into the short post of the RL goal from 16 yards out. The game pressed on. B-W continued to dominate offensively. In the 80th minute RL put one back. Through ball found Warrior “on Side” and he finished with a deft header past desperate Alek Gerrits. Then the “twilight goal” happened again for the Spear. 100 seconds after the restart Jacek found Vance Wicker for the final and decisive score of the match. Vance timed his run perfectly and “destroyed” the ball into the net. Celebrations abound after the final whistle. Jubilation and pure happiness of a victory was overwhelming.

“Players played their best game of the season. Every single man on the field did their job as needed. Rice Lake had stood in front of us in the post season for a few seasons now. Finally, the boys conquered the ghost of seasons past. Sense of achievement can't be described unless you just played 90 minutes of highest intensity soccer!”

“Sectional Final” – The Sectional Final was played at Rice Lake field on Saturday, October 27, 2018. The sudden change of the venue was due to suboptimal conditions of the Rhinelander pitch and willingness of Shawn Gilbert of RL to host the game. Baldwin-Woodville played the host as the higher (#1 seed) versus Mosinee. It was a highly emotional game with a state berth at stake. A fast turf pitch and tired legs after the game two days prior played a big part of the Spear performance. The Blackhawks came on strong from the beginning. Vane Wicker missed by inches in the first minutes of this Sectional match-up. Jacek missed by a foot after a 60 yard run evading opponents.

B-W went one up in the 17th minute after Jacek capitalized on an indecision of Mosinee’s back line and by the goalkeeper scoring into the far post. Jitters and anxiety dominated and inhibited B-W performance for the rest of the first half. Mosinee came back into the game in 26th and 29th minute. Two goals in short succession resulted from poor decision making by the defense and a goalkeeper. It was a very tense ending of the first half. Pressure of the moment was bearing down on the Blackhawks. Fortunately, the intermission came and half-time adjustments were able to be made. “There was a very serious monolog from me at the halftime. Win or go home attitude was imposed on the squad. Changes in line up and formations were made. It paid off.”

A magnificent crowd of supporters saw a different Spear team in the second half. Jacek Nickowski equalized from a penalty kick in the 59th minute. Same senior scored a scorcher of a goal in the 66th minute. His left foot bender from 30 yards out could have been a highlight of any soccer game. Nate Vrchota finished the deal in the 79th minute with a well-placed shot from 19 yards out. Game was well in control. The last ten minutes of the contest were watched with content and satisfaction from the coaching and fan perspective.

“I am so proud of the team, every single one who was with us on that field. Bench was outstanding in cheering for the players. Fans came in numbers I could have not foreseen. We all loved every moment of this tremendous match. We learned more about ourselves. This dream of a season continues. Off to State Tourney we go. This is much appreciated and understood by all members of this team. Hard work paid off. Tremendous preparation and seasons of strife preceded this success. There are dozens of former players feeling great about this right now. We have been close before, never quite able to kick the door in. We did it this year and it feels so, so, so good. Milwaukee here we come all the way from Northwest Wisconsin!”

Here is the roster for the Div. III Sectional Champion B-W Blackhawks (listed in order of jersey number, name, grade): 1- Alek Gerrits 12, 2 -Waylon Langer 10, 3- Jacob Sykora 12, 5- Carter Van Someren 10, 6- Dane Adams 12, 7- Vance Wicker 12, 8- William Kroening 9, 9- Walker Langer 11, 10- Nathan Vrchota 12, 13- Loren Knegendorf 11, 14- Brogan Drilling 9, 15- Samuel Sykora 9, 16- Alexander Novosad 11, 17- Jacek Nickowski 12, 18- Bazl Cook 9, 19- Wyatt Bennis 11, 21- Jack Kaiser 12, 22- Tyler Smigla 9, 23- Blake Warren 12, 26- Franklin Cartuche 12, 27- Benjamin Peterson 11, 30- Sawry Sarango 9, 31- Gavin Sippel 9. Team management: Head Coach Krzysztof Nickowski, Asst. Coaches Greg Adams & Chase Wilson, Team Captains Jacek Nickowski & Nate Vrchota, Manager Trinity Merritt.

The 37th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Soccer State Tournament will take place Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 1-3 at KOHLER Engines Stadium at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ticket prices for the tournament are $8. 

TOURNAMENT INFORMATION:  The single-elimination tournament features four divisions. Four teams will compete for the State title in each of the divisions. The coaches of the qualifying teams in Divisions 1 and 2 seeded those two divisions, and the coaches of the qualifying teams in Divisions 3 and 4 seeded those two brackets. Below are the pairings and time schedule of games. 

This is the summary preview from Todd Clark of the WIIA - THE DIVISION 3 FIELD:  McFarland was awarded the top seed in the bracket. The Spartans have qualified for the State tournament just one other time. That came in 2013, which resulted with a loss in the semifinals. They finished atop the standings in the Rock Valley Conference this fall, and their return to the tournament field comes following a 3-1 victory over Edgewood in the Mount Horeb Sectional final.   Second-seeded Pius XI Catholic returns to the State tournament for the first time since its only other appearance in 2000. The Popes fell in the Division 1 quarterfinals that season. They are the champions of the Shorewood Sectional following a 3-3 tie versus New Berlin West, advancing with a 3-2 advantage in the shootout. The Popes finished runner-up to Pewaukee in the Woodland Conference during the regular season. Third-seeded Baldwin-Woodville is celebrating its first trip to the State tournament following its 4-2 win over Mosinee in the Rice Lake Sectional final. The Blackhawks finished first in the Middle Border Conference this season. Plymouth, the fourth seed, is making its second straight appearance at State and its fifth overall. The Panthers’ first State experience had been in Division 1. The next two appearances were in Division 2, which included a State championship in 2002. They qualify this year after shutting out Fox Valley Lutheran 3-0 in the sectional final hosted by the Panthers. They were the runners-up to Division 4 State qualifier Kettle Moraine Lutheran in the East Central Conference this season. 

The Division 3 schedule is as follows: Thursday, Nov. 1 – Game one - #1 McFarland (18-4) vs. #4 Plymouth (14-4-5) - 11 a.m. Game two - #2 Pius XI Catholic (20-3-2) vs. #3 Baldwin-Woodville (20-0-2) - 1:30 p.m.

Division 3 Championship Game - Saturday, Nov. 3 - 11 a.m.