Memorial Season Wrap Up and Other Interesting Stuff

Well, it has been a few weeks, State Champs have been crowned, shocking development….Marquette wins the State Title…. so time to wrap it up and move on from 2018.  How will the season be judged, that is a tough one.  Certainly a success based on their record, some quality wins, some very close games against really good teams….but as well, some disappointment.  A few games that got away, not quite good enough to win some big games and an early exit from the playoffs in the most painful fashion.  Maybe a season of unrealized expectations says it best.  There are high standards at Memorial.  Great program, great coaches, great history equals high expectations every year.  Advancing to the Sectional Finals is almost expected.  A trip to State every few years is the plan and trying to find that elusive State Championship.  Memorial is a program that should have a shot every year, so a little bummed with the end of the year. But maybe that is a good thing.  Success breeds expectations.  Let’s take a look at the season.

Season Notes

Record: 13-4-2

BRC: 2nd place finish to Hudson

Winning Streaks: Had winning streaks of 3, 4 and a season best 5 games.

Shut Outs: 8

Goals Scored: 57  2.85/game average

Goals Allowed: 17  .85/game average

Best Win: Madison East 2-1 and Wauwatosa East 3-0 on the same weekend.  Best 2 game stretch of the year.

Best Almost Win: Middleton 1-1.  Gave up the tying goal very late in the game.

Toughest loss: That’s an easy one.  Appleton North.  Enough said, epic for all the wrong reasons.  Runner Up: Hudson 0-1, a late goal after almost getting a game winner stings pretty hard.

Biggest Surprise: Memorial 0-North 0.  First time North was able to earn a  tie against Memorial in like 15 years.  A sign that maybe this season was not quite meant to be

Best Team Played: Oregon.  After going down 2-0 quickly, Memorial was able to steady the ship and manage the rest of the game. Oregon clearly the better team and you thought maybe could be special.  They were… they ended their season winning then D2 State Title.

Goals Recap: Mitch Brenner-21, Luke Rosenberger-10, Jared Nunez-6, Will Hartman-4, Alex Sulzer-3, Carlos Verduzco-Justin Smith-Dalton Christopherson 2 each, Jacob Peloquin-Ryder Woodworth-Tyler Hanson-Ashton Johnson-Lucas Zumwalt-Scott Knowlton all with 1 each.  Maybe missed a goal or two, but I think this is pretty close.

Goals by Class: Seniors 54%, Juniors 30%, Sophomores 5%, Freshman 11%

Good News: 46% of the goals return with Rosenberger and Nunez combining for 16 goals.

Bad News: Brenner had 37% of the goals, that’s a lot of goals to replace.

2019 Season Preview

So lets take a quick look at what is returning in 2019 and how the team is taking shape.

Attacking: The loss of Brenner will hurt.  He was a dynamic scoring threat and had 37% of the goals.  Who will step into that role.  In the Forward spot there is no obvious choice.  Peloquin has played there, but his scoring dipped in 2018 and he played more on the wing late in the season.  This will be a developing story…who will step into this important role in the 9 spot.

Wing Play: Some better options here.  It feels like Hartman and Smith are ready and able to take on these spots.  Scoring ability, crossing ability and good team play make them dangerous out wide.

Midfield: Memorial will be dynamic in this area.  Returning Rosenberger, Nunez and Woodworth makes this maybe an All Conference Midfield, except for that darn Kolton Prater at Hudson and maybe Lushi Xiong at North.  A bunch of goals may need to come from midfield pending the development of a high scoring striker.  All three are capable and dominating midfield may be the key to next years team.

Back Four: Another area of strength.  Returning 3 starters along with All Conference player Logan Junker will make the back four tough to beat.  Throw in Matt Gyorfi, a healthy Ryan Biwer and fill in that 4th spot with a developing Sophomore or experienced Senior and you have a nice situation on the back line.

GK: Hard to replace a 3 year starter and Co-Conference Player of the Year.  Scott Knowlton likely assumes the spot and he will have big shoes to fill.  A strong back 4 and dynamic midfield will need to protect him a bit as he grows into the role.  Tyler covered up a bunch of defensive hiccups with his GK play and sweeper keeper mentality.  A stronger, more experienced defensive group will certainly help the new keeper.

Reserves: Memorial loses 10 Seniors and will need the next wave to step up to fill important roles on the team.  The JV squad was dominant all year, so who will step in to take those open spots.  Can we find enough scoring , midfield play and defense to round out the team.  Can we find that chemistry to build around.  Can we make a deep run and get back on top of the BRC.  Hudson had it a year, time to take it back!  Go Abes!

BIG Rivers All Conference Teams

1st Team

Memorial: Mitch Brenner (12), Luke Rosenberger (11), Logan Junker (11), Tyler Hanson (12)

Hudson: Kolton Prater (11), Luke Johnson (12), Cole Ober (11)

North: Logan Podolak (12), Lushi Xiong (11)

River Falls: Niko Zoller (12)

Rice Lake: Cole Schnoor (11)

Co-BRC Players of the Year: Kolton Prater and Tyler Hanson

2nd Team

Rice Lake: Logan Severson (12), Ben Kemp (11), Zach Holmstrom (10)

Menomonie: Adam Wilson (12), James Schemenauer (12)

Hudson: Corey Denning (12), Nick Thompson (11)

Memorial: Jared Nunez (9), Simon Larson (12)

River Falls: Connor Weinzurl (12)

North: Alec Reiland (12)

Honorable Mention

Hudson: Teig O’Kelly (10), Ryan Moothedan (12), Sam Ross (10)

River Falls: Owen Wise (10), Gage Espanet (11)

Memorial: Ryder Woodworth (10), Alex Sulzer (12)

North: Keegan Dehnke (12), Ayden White (11)

Menomonie: Ilari Lahtinen (12)

Chippewa Falls: Ethan Crocker (12)

Rice Lake: Michael Birhle (12)

2019 Predictions

As a clue to the 2019 year, what can the All Conference Teams tell us. As we look a the teams, how many returning players for each team were recognized.  How much talent is returning to guide next years programs.

Let’s look at the two teams who have dominated BRC play for the past 15 years and you will see a nice core to build around.  Based on this quick unscientific analysis, Hudson has a slight advantage in players and returning the Player of the Year certainly gives them the edge going into off-season. Feels like these two will battle it out again for the title.  Can Memorial replace some lost scoring, find an ace striker and get back to the top.  Can Kolton Prater finish off his senior year with back to back POY and a BRC title.  Can’t wait!

Hudson: Returns 5 including two 1st Team players as well as the Player of the year, one from 2nd team and two HM.  Strong!

Memorial: Returns 4 players including two from 1st Team and one each from 2nd Team and HM.  Pretty strong as well.

Rice Lake: Returns 3 players, one from 1st Team.

North: Returns two players, one from 1st Team.

River Falls: Return two from HM.

So as we wrap the season, let’s leave you something fun to take with you in the off-season.  Biggest goal of the year nominee.

We will need a lot of these next year from Luke.

And a lot of these as well from Jared.

Keep in touch as we focus more on Premier League an maybe a few winter updates on EC United.  Thanks for checking us out!



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Wisconsin High School Coaches Poll: Week of August 27th

The first poll of the season is out and no surprise, Marquette sits atop the polls at #1.

A familiar name sits at #2, Green Bay Preble, yes, that same Green Bay Preble that Memorial played this past week in a very competitive 3-1 loss.  Two pings off the post and cross bar and it’s a possible 3-3 tie.  Those darn two minutes when Memorial gave up back to back goals.  So, feeling any better about the loss.  We said in the Game Report that Preble was good and no shame in losing to a quality opponent, we just did not know at the time they would start the year ranked #2.  I am telling you, Memorial is not that far away from Preble.  A bit of seasoning, a bit of game experience, the young fellas growing up a bit during the year, add in a few senior starters and maybe the next time we face them it is a different story.  Likely, the State qualifier will need to go thru Green Bay Preble.

3. Neenah

4. Kettle Moraine

5. Verona

6. Sun Prairie

7. Brookfield Central

8. Appleton North

9. Sussex Hamilton

10. Homestead



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Premier League…Here We Go!


It is finally here, the Premier League starts on Friday with Match Week 1.  Get ready for another entertaining year of top flight soccer.  What are the story lines to follow.

Can Manchester City Repeat?   They are the class of the league and only strengthened their squad with the acquisition on RiyadMahrez from Leicester City.  Another strong wing player on an all ready stacked team.  Best striker in the league with Sergio Aguero.  Best midfielder in the league with Kevin DeBruyne.  A really strong back four with Kompany, Walker, Mendy and Stones.  Great young players in Sane and Jusus.  It will be very difficult to take the title away from them.  Plus….the best coach in the league in Pep Guardiola.

Who can take them down?  The logical contenders.  Liverpool…can Salah repeat his magical year.  Will their front three on Salah, Mane and Firmino deliver another epic year.  Key additions include Shaqiri and GK Alisson Becker.  Manchester United….its year three for Jose Marinho.  If he has not won a large trophy yet…he hasn’t with Man U…then year three he usually starts to wear on players, and fans..The act gets old.  The whining gets old.  The excuses get old.  The mind games …yes…get old.  There is some pressure to product big results and not just coast into the top 4.  Can new additions Fred and Alexis Sanchez (last season late buy) make a difference and create a more dominant attack.  Will Lukaku become the best striker in the league.  Or will they implode and finish 5th.  Tottenham Hotspur…will all that talent and coaching finally product a big trophy or title.  Harry Kane and Deli Alli make a dynamic twosome up front.  Christian Eriksen is top class running the midfield.  Son, Dembele and Trippier make a great midfield.  Is this the year.  Arsenal…will the change in leadership from Arsene Wenger to Unai Emery jump start Arsenal back into the top 4.  Can Lacazette become a force.  Will Ozil go big or take a step back.  Who will score goals for Arsenal this year…no stars but solid players.  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs to step up and take a leadership role.  Aaron Ramsey needs to own the midfield.  And finally…Chelsea…A season of transition for the Chelsea club.  New coach….will Sarri-Ball become a force in  the league or just flounder.  Can they find a competent striker.  Morata needs to start scoring goals or he is in danger of being replaced by Batshuayi or Giroud.  Will Hazard , Willian and Courtois stay or go.  Is Jorginho the new Midfield wizard?  How will Kante adapt to the new 4-3-3.  can their defense hold up?  Lots of questions…..a top 4 will be the goal…I don’t think they are ready to challenge for the title.

New Teams this year who were promoted in 2017/2018.

-Wolverhampton Wanderers

-Cardiff City FC

-Fulham FC

Match Week 1

Key Games:

Arsenal v Manchester City

Liverpool v West ham United

Chelsea v Huddersfield

To get you ready….a little video on the kits for 2018/2019.

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Back in the BRC, Abes Roll Over Superior

After two hard fought games against Top 10 opponents, Memorial jumped back into the BRC and rolled over Superior 10-0 this week.  The weekend UW Eau Claire Classic had the Abes fine tuned and it showed as the Abes scored early and often.  3 Goals in the first three minutes and this one was over early.  Another spurt and it was 5-0 at the 14 minute mark.  Memorial cooled off a bit but finished with two more goals for a 7-0 halftime score.

Another three goals in the second half and this one ended early.  This is just what happens occasionally in the BRC when a top ranked team in the state takes on one of the developing teams in then BRC.  Superior just caught Memorial at the wrong time.  They played really well over the weekend and that carried into the game against Superior.  As we discussed against Menomonie, get your goals, no sloppy habits and get out.  A chance for players to heal, rest up and more playing time for a deep and talented team.  All good.  Move on to Chippewa Falls tonight. Chippewa comes into the game off two wins, has three conference wins this year and recently tied Hudson.  Don’t sleep on Chippewa Falls is the motto.

Goals tonight from Lauren Carmody (5), Stow (2), Barstad, Kison and Gerry.  I don’t care who you are playing, scoring 5 goals is pretty impressive Lauren Carmody!!  Carmody and Stow lead the scoring this year with 9 and 8 goals respectively.

In honor of the 10 goals here is a little highlight reel to get you pumped up.  The Top 10 Goals from the Womens US National Team in 2017.

Really good stuff.  Go Abes!  Working on a Big Rivers Conference Update. More to follow soon.


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World Soccer Updates: February 16

Okay Soccer fans, things are starting to get busy.  I wanted to try to catch you up on all the activity, Premier League, FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.  Let’s start with the Premier League.

Premier League Update

Match Day 28 is a week away as the European teams are taking a week off for the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League.

Race for the Top 4.  Things holding steady again this week at the top as the only wobble was Manchester United losing to 17th place Newcastle United, 1-0.  That tightens up the race for positions 2-3-4 between 4 teams.  Critical to make the top 4 as that qualifies for Champions League and BIG, BIG money.  Only 4 points separate 4 teams, pretty amazing.

Manchester City 23-3-1 72 points

Manchester United 17-5-5 56 points

Liverpool 15-9-3 54 points

Chelsea 16-5-6 53 points

Tottenham 15-7-5 52 points

Arsenal 13-6-8 45 points

Surprise of the Week.  Newcastle United beating Manchester United. Big upset and pushed Newcastle clear of the relegation zone.

Some highlights for you.

Got to give you some Chelsea and Eden Hazard.  When he is healthy and focused, one of the best in the world. Enjoy is two goals in the 3-0 win for Chelsea.

Race for the Relegation Zone.  The bottom had some movement.  Southampton who had just exited the bottom 3 a week ago is back.  Huddersfield Township made the biggest move from 19th to 17th and out of the zone for the first time in a while.  Tight race for 18 and 19.  West Brom is starting to fade but two wins could turn it around!

17. Huddersfield Township with 27 points.

18. Southampton with 26 points.

19. Stoke City with 25 points.

20. West Bromich Albion with 20 points.

Big Matches Next Weekend

Manchester City v. Arsenal is huge.  A 1 v 6 match up that could be a factor in the Top 4 Race. Arsenal loss may eliminate their shot at a top 4 finish.

Chelsea v Manchester United will be interesting.  Chelsea starting to find a groove the past 2 games and Manchester United flat the last two games. #2 v #4.  Huge Game.


FA CUP Update

Round 5 Games are this weekend and we are working to go from 16 teams to 8 teams.  Two games today.

Chelsea advance with a 4-0 win over Hull City

Leicester City advance with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United.

No upsets yet, but a few chances this weekend.


Champions League Update

We are at the Round of 16 stage.  Each team plays a home and away series to determine who advances to the Quarter Finals. Four games are completed.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Real Madrid all with big wins in the first leg.  Tottenham and Juventus with a 2-2 tie.

Big games next week include Chelsea v. Barcelona.



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FA Cup 3rd Round Update

FA Cup Sunday Update

S0…it has happened again…and this time to one of English football’s elite clubs, Arsenal.

Nottingham Forrest 4 -Arsenal 2

This is a stunner of a result.  The very first time Arsenal has been eliminated this early in the competition under current manager Arsene Wenger, who has coached them the past 21 years.  As well, Arsenal are the record holders with 13 FA Cup titles in their history. They are FA Cup royalty.  Wenger has been under pressure the past few years as Arsenal have won very few trophies and he has considered stepping down…this might be a little nudge for the club to reconsider his future.

Arsenal currently sitting in 6th position in the Premier League while Nottingham Forest are in 13th place in the Championship division, one level down.  That’s a difference of 27 positions in class.  I mentioned there are always some surprises and yesterday with Stoke City losing it was a big upset.  This one will rock the soccer world.  The lower level teams always come into a match with a premier league team hungry and play with a little extra energy, but usually, the quality of the Premier League team eventually wears them down and even if close, the Premier league team generally gets the win.  Not today! Not only did they win, but by all accounts, they were the better team, scored 4 goals and did not win on a fluke or strange call, they deserved the win. Wow. 

A side note for the American football fan is that Eric Lichaj scored two goals in the game and is also a member of the US Mens National Team and may feature more on the team in the future.  Way to go Yankee!  Show those English boys a thing or two.

FA Cup Update

So it has happened already.  The FA Cup is known for its big upsets.  It is a very cool competition with teams from every league in English soccer eligible.  You end up getting some interesting matches.  Today was a great example.

Stoke City vs. Coventry City.

Stoke City is in the Premier League, the top-level of English soccer.  They are struggling this year and are currently in 18th position and if the league ended today, Stoke City would get relegated down to the Championship level.  Coventry City are currently 3rd in the League 2, the 4th level of English soccer.  If things stand they would get promoted to league 1 next year.

There are 116 teams in the Top 5 levels of English soccer and this is a game of the teams ranked 18 (Stoke City) vs. the team ranked 71 (Coventry City).  Seems like a pretty easy win.  Not so fast my friend.  Coventry City eased past Stoke City with a 2-1 win today in Round 3 of the FA Cup.  The first Premier League team to lose to a lower lever squad so far this year.

Transfer Window News

Philippe Coutinho has been sold from Liverpool to Barcelona for $192M.  Wow.  This is a big move for Coutinho as Barcelona tries to recover from the loss this year of Neymar to PSG.  Barcelona is one of the top 3-4 clubs in the world and needed to make a big move based on recent results to keep their position.  Messi is getting older, they lost Neymar…so this move was critical for their future. Not sure how Liverpool replaces the lost goals.  Should be interesting.


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Premier League Update: January 5th

Match Week 22 of 38 is in the books.  The Holiday fixtures period has just ended and things will start to settle down a bit.  Two games per week made for quite a bit of soccer.  Let’s take a look at the week in review and the trending topics.

Top of the Table Taking Shape.  Things are starting to settle down at the top of the table and there has not been much movement lately.  The top 4 in the group continue to be Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.  Manchester City had the slightest wobble over the weekend with a 0-0 draw and a few injured players.  They quickly rallied for a solid 2-0 win over Everton in their next game.  Still undefeated this year.

Bottom of the table shaking up a bit.  Stoke City (20), West Bromich Albion (16) and Swansea City (16) are the current bottom three. Swansea City had a big win to close the gap on 17th.  I have mentioned a few times, but this race will be much more exciting this year than the race for the title.  Five teams are within 2 points of the relegation zone; Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, West Ham United, Bournemouth and Southampton.  Win one game and you elevate over 5 other teams.  Late season games are going to be intense.

Current Table Top 4

Manchester City  20-2-0  62 Points.

Manchester United  14-5-3  47 Points.

Chelsea  14-4-4  46 Points.

Liverpool  12-8-2  44 Points.

Game of the Week: Chelsea v. Arsenal

In a classic match up of two of the top 6 teams in the League, and also a rivalry game…both teams from London…we were treated to quite a game.  Here is the highlight package.  Some great goals, the Goal Keepers made some incredible saves, there were some goals left out there as well, especially on the Chelsea side.  And in most classic games…some controversy and a late goal in extra time.  Check it out.

Quick review.  Arsenal first goal on a really fortunate bounce that landed at Jack Wilshire’s feet.  Nice finish I guess.  An obvious PK against Hazard for the equalizer.   Have you noticed yet I am a Chelsea fan.  The Arsenal coach complained about this one pretty hard after game.  Wah, wah wah.  It was a penalty…get over it!  Chelsea takes the lead on a magical run and side foot from Alonso.  A defender…pretty nice move for a defender.  Arsenal levels in extra time.  Another pretty fortunate ball that finds Hector Bellerin.  Pretty nice half volley I must admit.  But then…literally 30 seconds later Morata has a chance to seal the win…one v one…but can’t deliver.  He had 3 really good chances, but no strikers magic on this day.  Still, the ball bounces out to Zappacosta who literally crushes a volley destined for the net.  Cech has no chance in goal…it’s going to be the miracle last minute finish to win the game…ting….off the cross bar.  Oh my!  I lost my mind on that one.  How did that not go in!  Maybe it was payback for the Sanchez shot early in the game that went off both posts and did not go in.  What a game!  You should watch the highlights again!

Other News

FA Cup 3rd Round games are this weekend.  The biggest open soccer tournament in England.  Sort of like if we had a basketball tournament in the US that allowed college teams, semi-pro teams, NBA G-League teams and NBA teams all in the same tournament.  The fun here is watching lower level teams knock off the big boys….except for Chelsea of course.  So far, the favored teams are advancing. Manchester United and Liverpool both advanced today.  Chelsea plays Norwich City from the Championship Level, currently 13th (30 spots below Chelsea).

January Transfer Period Is Now Open

I know this sounds strange, but European Soccer allows teams to sign plays in January, right in the middle of the season. The primary time to sign players is over the summer, but this mid-season signing period always has a few surprises.

Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool.  For a world record fee, Liverpool sign Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton 75M pounds. Big money for a defender.  He scores in his first Liverpool game so all is well.  Liverpool really needed some help on defense.

Barkley to Chelsea.  Chelsea scooped up a value play when they signed Ross Barkley, only 24, to a 15M pound deal. A relative bargain.  Chelsea offered 30M last summer but the player elected to stay at Everton.  His contract was ending this summer and Everton could have received nothing for him.  He has the skills to be a great player.  Hope it works out….the next Lampard…he took the #8 jersey.

More FA Cup games this weekend before the Premier League Match Week 23 kicks in the weekend of January 13th.

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Website Update: A New Look

Well, now I have gone and done it.  I am having so much fun on the blog, I figured it was time to make it look a little more official.  A difficult task I know, I mean it’s just a little hometown blog run by little ole me, about local soccer news, but what the heck!  Nobody needs to know it’s a one man show….although I did just tell everyone that.  Note to self….don’t write everything you are thinking!!

It feels a little more real when you have a logo.  Not sure why, but now I definitely need to keep this going, just out of respect for the logo.  Kind of like when athletes tap their team emblem or team name after a big play or a big win.  It’s not about them, it’s the name on the jersey!

West Wisconsin Soccer Talk Logo…A Bold New Look


Pretty fancy  I know.  I was inspired by the tradition of soccer logos on shields, coupled with the influence of it being a local Wisconsin blog.  I am a member of Big Blue Nation (graduated from Kentucky) but fully respect the Wisco Red.  So why not combine them.  Plus it looks patriotic with that combo.  The lion head is pretty obvious, although I spell it a little different, but you get it…right?  So there you have it, a new look and a new logo for West Wisconsin Soccer Talk.  I kind of like it and hope you do as well.

Working on a post on UEFA Champions League and the English Premier League in the next few days.  Check back soon!  Was just too excited about the new logo to wait for the next post to share it with you.  Dumb I know, but kind of proud of it.

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