APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – It’s been a season to remember for the Appleton North boys soccer team.
“It’s really crazy, honestly. I knew we were going to come this far, I just didn’t think it would happen so quickly,” said senior Caleb Davis. “It’s different, because usually we’re playing from start of summer until the end of November. Good that we’re making it all this way, especially not thinking we were going to be playing at first.”
Back in the fall the Lightning were like any other FVA school. Waiting to find out whether or not they would have a season. The answer was no, at least for the fall.
“The whole year has just been a roller coaster. I mean, having the season canceled and then not knowing if we were going to play or not. We were hopeful to have it, and it ended up happening. I’m just grateful we had a season and had the opportunity,” said senior Nick Milani.
Fast forward to last Saturday and the Lightning were punching their ticket to the state tournament after wins over Appleton East and Stevens Point.
Appleton North has been to the state tournament before, but it’s been a decade. The Lightning last made an appearance on the biggest stage in Wisconsin high school soccer back in 2010.
“I always knew we were going to be pretty good. I knew we’d all come together at some point. I knew we were going to be really good our senior year. I’m just glad that we made it here now. It’s a special moment. It’s not something you see all the time. I mean, it’s been a decade,” said Davis.
This year’s team seemingly had the target on their back all season as one of the early favorites to win the FVA. As the season went on that pressure only increased, and Appleton North responded.
You’re getting everyone’s best game. They really want to put a loss in that column. For these goys to stay calm, collected, play our game, and make it to state. It’s just awesome,” said head coach Kevin Murphy.
As for how the top seeded Lightning will bring home the program’s first goal ball over the weekend, that’s pretty simple. It all comes down to doing the same things on the field that got them to the state tournament in Kewaskum.
“With the talent that we have on this roster, and the bench that we have that can come in and support. If we play our game we don’t feel like any team is going to come in and beat us,” said Murphy
“I’m definitely proud of the team and what we’ve accomplished so far, but we got a state championship to win. I think we’ve definitely got to win that to top off a great season,” said Milani.
“I’m just ready to play the game. I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen after the game. I just want to paly and win the game, and then we’ll see how it feels afterwards,” said Davis.