Boys Soccer Come Home with Silver, Give Up No Goals in State Run


Joey Bonadonna, Sports Editor, Online Tritonian

Last weekend, the NDA boys’ soccer team competed at the state championship tournament at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, finishing as state runner-ups. 

This was the second time in the calendar year that the Tritons finished receiving the silver ball, as they finished 2nd in the 2021 alternate spring season as well.

The Tritons entered the state tournament as the #2 seed after defeating Seymour 1-0 in the sectional finals, setting up a rematch against #3 seed McFarland from last year’s state title game.

“The mentality was to treat it like it was any other game and to play the way we knew how to play all year long,” senior Connor Handrick said. ”We were confident in our team and our ability to get a win against them.”

On Friday, the game against the Spartans started out slow and physical, as the teams were tied 0-0 at halftime. 

However, in the 60th minute, senior Garrett Watzka notched not one, but two goals, both assisted by junior Emmett Lawton, to provide a 2-0 lead for the Tritons. Those two goals in one minute would prove to be the winners, as the Tritons prevailed in the rematch by the same final score of 2-0.

Ahead of them on Saturday would be another rematch, this time against the #1 seed Shorewood Greyhounds, whom the Tritons had defeated in overtime in spring in the state semis.

The Greyhounds were led by senior Denis Krioutchenkov, a Davidson College commit, and the state’s leading goal-scorer with fifty-two. Going into the match, the Tritons had to formulate a game plan to keep Krioutchenkov in check. 

Our plan to stop Denis was to be patient and force him away from the goal so he could not get as many high quality shots,” Handrick said, who was tasked with guarding him for most of the game. “We knew he was a great player, so we just tried to slow him down to the best of our abilities.”

The Tritons’ defense was successful in that department, ceding no goals in regulation from Krioutchenkov or any other Greyhound. However, the offense, despite many scoring chances, was also held at bay, which sent the game to overtime. After another scoreless 20 minutes, the state title would be decided by a shootout. 

The Greyhounds eventually won 5-3 on penalty kicks and celebrated their 2nd state title in three years.

The Tritons made history with their playoff run, becoming the first team in state history to give up no goals in all six of their matches, but still end up as state runner-ups. This accomplishment is a great symbol of the stifling defense the Tritons played when it mattered most, but unfortunately would not go home with the ultimate prize.

While head coach Michael Prudisch does return many producers like conference offensive player of the year Emmett Lawton next season, the program will lose many important seniors like Handrick.

“I could not be more proud of the teammates I had over the years and what we accomplished,” Handrick said in reflection. “We made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.”