Hudson girls soccer sectional champions

The Hudson girls’ soccer team poses with the sectional championship plaque after shutting out Kimberly 3-0 in a WIAA Division 1 sectional championship game Saturday, June 19, in Appleton. The victory sends the Raiders to the WIAA State Tournament for the first time since 2001. Photo courtesy of Kevin Chukel.

After Hudson beat Kimberly 3-0 in the Division 1, Sectional 1 championship game in Appleton Saturday, June 19, head coach Steve Sollom said the Raiders seem to be peaking at the right time.

That’s probably a scary thought for the rest of the field at Thursday's state tournament in Milwaukee.

In a battle of No. 1 seeds Saturday, June 19, in Appleton, Hudson jumped out to an early lead and led 2-0 at halftime on its way to a 3-0 victory over the Papermakers to earn its first trip to the WIAA State Tournament since 2001.

It’s the seventh state tournament appearance for Hudson after qualifying six straight years from 1996-2001. The Raiders finished as state runner-ups in 1996.

The Raiders take a record of 15-0 and a No. 2 state ranking into the state. They received the No. 2 seed in the 4-team field and will play third-seeded Kettle Moraine (10-4) in a semifinal match Thursday, June 24, at 1 p.m. on Pat Jones Field at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. 

Top-seeded and top-ranked Divine Saviour Holy Angels (15-1-1) and fourth-seeded Kenosha Bradford (13-2) will face off in the other semifinal at the same time on Kohler Engine Field with the Division 1 championship game set for Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Sollom said he’s excited to see what the Raiders can do Thursday after outscoring their opponents 12-2 in three postseason games so far.

“We seem to be peaking at the right time after a few lackluster results a few weeks ago,” he said. “So I’m excited for the kids to show off what they can do in Milwaukee.”

Sollom said the Raiders played smart and took advantage of their opportunities in Saturday’s sectional final against Kimberly. 

After Lauren Chukel narrowly missed a goal in the second minute, Stella Duffee broke the ice a few minutes later with a poised finish off a through ball behind the Papermaker defense.

Avery Murdzek hit a perfectly placed free kick just inside the post from 25 yards out in the 20th minute to give Hudson a 2-0 lead.

Sollom said the Raiders defense has been very strong during their playoff run and that continued Saturday as Kimberly struggled to create any chances from their possessions.

“Our outside backs pushed way up like midfielders and kept them from getting any momentum,” Sollom noted. “ When they did play long our goalkeeper Abby Carlson was there, or our center backs dropped it back to her to clear.”

Laney Murdzek scored the Raiders’ third goal on a corner kick late in the game to seal it.

“We did a nice job of finishing the game and staying clear of any trouble,” Sollom said.

Hudson advanced to the sectional title game with a 2-0 victory over Big Rivers Conference rival Eau Claire Memorial Thursday night, June 17, at home.

Chukel scored off a free kick in the tenth minute and Elayna Murdzek volleyed a deftly placed pass from Duffee over the Old Abes’ keepers’ head at the 43rd minute mark to account for the Raider scoring.

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