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Two years ago, a young Whitefish Bay team starting five freshmen experienced heartbreak at the state semifinals, losing 4-0 to a more experienced Oregon squad.

Friday, Whitefish Bay turned the tables on Oregon, defeating the younger Oregon team, 3-1, to advance to Saturday's state-championship battle against Wauwatosa East.

“(Coach Julie Grutzner and I) knew the script was flipped a little bit,” Bay coach Robby Dubinski said. “We were going to be a little bit more junior and senior dominant, and they were going to be younger, but it’s a scary team.”

“Rob and I joked about it that it was revenge for him, but it’s a little different because we’re in reverse roles,” Grutzner said. “I’m quite pleased with how my younger players stepped in against a very physical and very fast and skilled team.”

Those five freshmen, now juniors, played a key part in flipping the script.

“The experience that those girls got is so big," Dubinski said. "We told them after the game, ‘We lost 4-0, but you have to keep your head up. We got here. Next time, it’s going to be a different story.’ And today it was.”

Oregon initially had a few shots and a strong advantage in possession to put Whitefish Bay on edge.

“We had a couple opportunities,” Grutzner said. “My keeper came up with some big saves to keep us tied, but you can only hold on for so long.”

Senior forward and University of Louisville signee Taylor Kerwin had a team-high 43 goals entering play for Whitefish Bay but instead was the one assisting early Friday.

“She’s that kind of player,” Dubinski said. “We look for her to score, and sometimes she drops a pass that not many other players can drop.”

Kerwin attempted a shot on goal in the 43rd minute. Oregon keeper Abby Breitbach stopped it, but teammate Daria Ghorbanpoor took advantage of space on the right side to give the Dukes their first goal.

“One main point for attacking we had was really following our shots,” Kerwin said. “(Ghorbanpoor) did it perfectly. There’s not much more we could have done for that goal.”

Kerwin later found an open Brianna Murano, who netted the team’s second goal in the 57th minute.

“I got too close to the end line, so I cut it back and slotted it, which is another thing we’ve been working on — making sure we get runs in the box — so when that does happen, there are people for the slotted ball,” Kerwin said. “It was another thing my teammates did perfectly, so it was easy for me.”

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Kerwin added a goal of her own in the 65th minute.

“It felt good, especially after all the misses,” Kerwin said.

She attributed it to “staying calm and collected” and “finishing and not getting too much in my head.”

“There’s a reason why she has 44 goals and is going Division 1,” Grutzner said. “She’s a very hard player to mark.”

Kerwin’s goal came after seven unsuccessful shots, spurring frustration, and she received a yellow card in the first half and pounded her first against Uihlein’s rubbery turf after one shot that floated over the net.

“I didn’t move on from one of the shots I missed and I got a little frustrated,” Kerwin said regarding her yellow card. “That was definitely my fault.

“Sometimes you’re off, sometimes you’re on, and today was a day I was off,” Kerwin said. “I have a saying, ‘Move on.’ When you miss, it’s almost like basketball; you just have to move on and keep going for the next one. That’s kind of what I had to do today, so hopefully tomorrow it will be a little better.”

Kerwin was not the only one to have issues finishing shots, as the team totaled 19 first-half shots.

“The Oregon goalie (Breitbach) is phenomenal,” Dubinski said. “We said that we couldn’t just settle for 30-yard shots into the wind even though it wasn’t as strong as it was last week (against Notre Dame). She’s too good of a goalie.”

Brietbach finished the game with 10 saves.

Oregon's only goal came from senior Holly Kaboord with 18 seconds left.

"We were joking because they 4-0'ed us, so we wanted to stick another one," Dubinski said. "But they had a really nice goal."

"It was a breakdown on our defense that we have to fix and we talk about every year," Dubinski added. "You have to play 90 minutes of soccer."

Whitefish Bay will take on Wauwatosa East, the previous coaching stop for Dubinski and assistant Pat Krygiel’s. This pits Dubinski against Red Raiders head coach and longtime colleague Eric Dale.

“I coached with Dale for seven years as his assistant,” Dubinski said. “Him and I have been there pretty much since 2003 or 2004, so we’re good friends. We even worked together in the summer time.”

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