The Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School girls’ soccer team had lofty expectations coming into the 2010 season. After all, as defending Division 3 WIAA State champions, the bar was set pretty high.
In addition to getting back to the state meet, the Chargers wanted to win the Flyway Conference, after finishing third a year ago. The Hoerchner sisters, Samantha and Abigail, have helped the Chargers reach that goal, pouring in 54 of the team’s 81 goals this season. As a team, Kettle Moraine Lutheran (15-2-1 overall, 13-0-0 Flyway) has outscored its opponents 81-11.
The duo has relished the opportunity to play with one another.
“To be able to share memories and accomplishments with each other is something not everyone gets to experience. It helps our game because we can rely on each other for support, advice and improvement,” said Samantha.
“It is definitely a special experience that not everyone gets the opportunity to have,” said Abigail.
Head coach Matt Moeller said the sisters have great instincts with one another and have unspoken communication.
“We kind of have this telepathy out on the field. We know where to play the ball so that the other can run onto it,” said Abigail.
Samantha, a senior, is co-captain and has used her four years of varsity experience to mentor her sophomore sister and the rest of the Chargers.
“She is a tremendous leader and very encouraging to the team,” said Moeller.
“Because I understand what it takes to be successful during a season, I am able to relay this message to the team,” said Samantha, who has scored 29 goals this season.
“Sam has always encouraged me to keep my ‘head on straight’ during the game,” said Abigail. “She has taught me to maintain my composure throughout play. I have also learned from her how to be a leader out there and always stay positive.”
Although Abigail, who has recorded 25 goals and 12 assists, learned plenty from her big sister, she’s shared a few things with Samantha too, such as improved ball control and physical play.
“Abbey’s specialty is definitely dribbling and ball control. She is even helping me improve in those areas of my game,” said Samantha.
Moeller said that while Samantha, who recorded a hat trick in a conference win over Oakfield Tuesday, is more of a finesse style of player while Abigail is more physical. He said they complement one another.
The coach’s comments might be an understatement considering the prolific scoring performance from the sisters this season. Despite, the duo’s success on the field, Moeller said there isn’t a sibling rivalry and both Hoerchner sisters are humble, looking to deflect praise onto their teammates.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a rivalry,” said Abigail. “We’re pretty unselfish, so it is definitely a cooperative effort. I like setting up and assisting Sam and the other girls on the team.”
“(It’s) definitely a cooperative effort,” said Samantha. “Soccer is such a team sport. Whenever Abbey or I score it is because our teammates get us the ball. It is all because of them.”
With the Flyway title clinched, the team will search for success in the post-season. They have an opportunity to qualify for the state meet on their home field, as they are the host school for their Division 3 Sectional.
“As we’re coming into the post-season, another visit to the state tournament would be nice, but we’re focusing and taking it one game at a time,” said Abigail.
“Of course we have the state championship in our focus … Right now, we are focused on becoming the best team possible to play competitively in the state tournament,” said Samantha.
The Hoerchner sisters’ coach is very optimistic about hosting. The team has put themselves in a position to earn a No. 1 seed in the regional, and will find out Friday if they receive it.
“It’s a huge advantage. The girls are more comfortable there … and they can get their routine better for each game,” said Moeller about playing at home. “We want to finish strong in the regular season so we’re ready for the state tournament. We need to start by winning the regional and then we’ll focus on sectionals.”
No matter what happens, both girls will take a lot from the experience.
“I will remember all of the memories we’ve created thus far,” said Samantha. “We are such a close-knit team, and I believe that has attributed to our success.”
“I like having the sisterly support both on and off the field, and being able to share all our memorable sports moments together,” said Abigail. “Honestly, I’ll remember it all.
“I was always playing with my big sister. That’s the way it’s been, and it’s definitely going to be different without her next year.”