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Brookens, Thole get Hillmen back on track
pla soccer thole
Senior Lauren Thole (3) fights for possession during Platteville/Lancasters 20 win at Richland Center Thursday afternoon. Thole scored the games first goal in the ninth minute.

RICHLAND CENTER — The Platteville/Lancaster girls soccer team is finding its grove once again.
After a rough 0–4–3 stretch, the Hillmen have now won three straight Southwest Wisconsin Conference matches dating back to a dominating 7–0 shutout at Galena on Thursday, April 27.

Last Thursday, senior Sami Brookens and Lauren Thole led the Hillmen to a 2–0 road win at Richland Center.

Thole, a senior from Lancaster, scored the match’s first goal on a Brookens assist in the ninth minute.
Brookens, a Platteville senior, added an unassisted goal in the 31st minute and junior goalie Sami Knockel (one save) and the Hillmen defense, led by senior Kaelyn Johnson and sophomore Abby Whitford, made the two-goal lead hold up throughout the second half.

The Hillmen improved to 5–4–3 overall and 4–0–1 in the SWC, a half game ahead of Dodgeville/Mineral Point.

The Platteville co-op will host Dodgeville/Mineral Point on Thursday. The Hillmen and Dodgers played to a scoreless draw on April 25 in Dodgeville.

“We’re right where we hoped to be in the conference standings at this point, undefeated and in the hunt for a title,” said Hillmen head coach Brandon Pink. “I’ve been impressed with the SWC teams this year.  There have been several coaching changes since last season, and the improvement in quality is evident. I’ve noticed a significant improvement in the organization and skill of their play.  We’re really going to have a battle for the SWC crown this season between us, River Valley, and Dodge–Point.”

The Hillmen defeated visiting River Valley 1–0 in a defensive battle last Tuesday.
Brookens scored the lone goal, unassisted in the 19th minutes. Knockel made a number of difficult stops and finished with five saves to preserve the shutout.

“Our non-conference schedule is about as brutal as I’ve ever seen,” added Pink. “We had a run of games from mid- to end-April where we played three of the top five ranked teams in the state (Sugar River, Mount Horeb, and West Salem) all in the span of about two weeks, with a key SWC clash with Dodgeville mixed in there. That was incredibly challenging for our girls. The scorelines don’t flatter us, but there were a lot of positives to take away from those games. In almost every case the score was better than last year, which shows good year-on-year improvement.  We also saw good things happening individually and as a team, and we found areas where we need to improve.”

Platteville/Lancaster 7, Galena 0
(from Thursday, April 27 @ Galena, Ill.)

Platteville/Lancaster    3     4    —  7
Galena                         0     0     —  0
First half — P/L: Sami Brookens; Brookens (Jenna Vogel), Brookens (Lauren Thole).
Second half — P/L: Sierra Hooper (Vogel), Brookens (Alexis Thompson), Hooper, Thole.
Saves — P/L: Sami Knockel 1; G: Allie McGill 7. Shots on Goal — P/L: 14; G: 1.

Platteville/Lancaster 1, River Valley 0
(from Tuesday, May 2 @ Platteville)

River Valley                  0    0    —  0
Platteville/Lancaster     1    0    —  1
First half — P/L: Sami Brookens 19:00.
Second half — none.
Saves — P/L: Sami Knockel 5; RV: Aleah O’Dell 7. Shots on Goal — P/L: 8; RV: 5.

Platteville/Lancaster 2, Richland Center 0
(from Thursday, May 4 @ Richland Center)

Richland Center          0    0    —  0
Platteville/Lancaster   2    0    —  2
First half — P/L: Lauren Thole (Sami Brookens) 9:00; Brookens 31:00.
Second half — none.
Saves — P/L: Sami Knockel 1; RC: Marybell Rodriguez 4. Shots on Goal — P/L: n6; RC: 1.