Kerwin's hat trick lifts Whitefish Bay over Wauwatosa East in Division 2 state title game

Whitefish Bay rolled to a 5-1 win over Wauwatosa East to collect the WIAA Division 2 state championship

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Whitefish Bay head coach Rob Dubinski jokingly compared senior forward Taylor Kerwin a week ago to LeBron.

“She’s like LeBron,” Whitefish Bay head coach Rob Dubinski said regarding his star player following the team’s sectional final win. “You’re not going to stop her. You can contain her a little bit, but she can make something happen so quickly.”

Unlike LeBron, Kerwin will be bringing home gold this week following Whitefish Bay’s 5-1 state championship victory over Wauwatosa East.

“It feels amazing,” Kerwin said. “This is what we worked for all year, and we finally made it happen, so it feels great.”

“It’s unbelievable,” Dubinski said. “We knew we had the talent. We just had to get that chemistry down with the new girls coming in.”

As Kerwin and the Blue Dukes take the gold ball 15 minutes east, her name will be etched into the record books with three goals, the new Division 2 single-game state tournament record. She matched the Division 2 state tournament record for goals in the tournament with four.

“Even more amazing,” Kerwin commented regarding the records. “I can’t thank my team enough for how much they’ve helped me make my goals possible.”

The University of Louisville signee is no stranger to this type of success. The state championship victory was her 15th multi-goal game and ninth hat trick of the season.

“She’s just a special player,” Dubinski said. “There’s a reason why she’s going to Louisville next year. She’s a great player. 

“I saw (Wauwatosa East coach) Eric (Dale’s) quote in the paper about how you’re not going to stop her. You’re going to try to neutralize her. She’s just one of those players that you can put two, three players on her, and she’s going to make something happen either for herself or for her teammates.”

Kerwin did not dwell on her lack of finishing from the night before, putting the Blue Dukes on the scoreboard with a penalty kick goal in the 11th minute.

“I got a great ball through from one of my teammates, and I ended up getting clipped in the box,” Kerwin explained. “We practiced (penalty kicks) for the past few weeks, so I felt really comfortable.”

Her rebound from Friday fit perfectly with her saying “move on.”

“It feels great, especially since that’s been my saying all year,” Kerwin said. “When you make it happen, things happen.”

Kerwin continued to take advantage of Wauwatosa East’s overly physical defense, scoring her second goal on a free kick from about 20 yards out.

“The wall was shifted a little far over,” Dubinski said. “She read it perfectly and had a hit.”

“It’s hard to get momentum when it’s very touchy and ticky-tacky,” Dale said of the physicality. “I would’ve liked to see less whistles, but the refs had nothing to do with the game. It was an excellently officiated match.”

Kerwin’s goal to secure the hat trick and record came in the 71st minute as she rocketed her third goal of the game off a teammate’s miss.

Ironically, it wasn't the most memorable one for her or Dubinski.

“What was the third goal?” Kerwin said amidst the pandemonium. “I can’t even remember.”

“I don’t even remember the third goal,” Dubinski echoed. “It was just a blur, but I’m sure it was something nice.”

Kerwin was not the only one to contribute offensively.

Senior forward Lily Jefferson scored in the 23rd minute to provide the Blue Dukes with some breathing room.

Junior midfielder Grace Riedl also chipped in a 30-yard kick over Red Raiders goalkeeper Abby Schermerhorn to expand the team’s lead to 4-1 in the 67th minute. Kerwin had the assist.

Dale referred to Riedl’s goal as the dagger.

Wauwatosa East struggled to score against a Whitefish Bay defense that has allowed only one goal in the playoffs prior to Saturday.

“You cannot give a team like Whitefish Bay a 3-0 lead to play with,” Dale said. “They’ll kill you.”

The team’s lone goal came in the 43rd minute as Elyse Reagan put netted a 10-yard shot just right of the keeper.

The Red Raiders had the challenge of battling injuries in the contest, including one to junior midfielder Evan Knauss.

“I feel so bad for Evan Knauss,” Dubinski said. “She’s a great player and having to go down in the state tournament really kills me.”

“She’s a gritty kid. The first thing she said when I got out there was, ‘I want to keep playing,’” Dale said. “That’s the character of this team.”

The win has extra meaning for Dubinski. He coached as an assistant at Tosa East for seven years.

“It feels great no matter who we beat,” Dubinski said. “There’s a little something beating Tosa East, but I have so much respect for those guys, and they’re a hell of a team.”

The former Red Raiders assistant also acknowledged Tosa East’s bright future.

“They have a lot of talent,” Dubinski said. “They are going to be a very tough team.”

“I promise you (our players) will be back here,” Dale said. “They have that work ethic and they will not be denied. I expect an even better season next year.”

Meanwhile, Whitefish Bay will be losing 11 seniors. While Dubinski is quick to compare one of those 11 seniors to LeBron, she is not as on board with the analogy.

“LeBron’s amazing, so I don’t think so,” Kerwin said. “But it was very nice of them to say. Hopefully, one day I can live up to that name."

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