MENASHA (WLUK) -- St. Mary Catholic is making its first state girls soccer appearance since 2013 and the return to the sport's biggest stage starts with a difficult test.
Friday night, in a Division 4 semifinal, the No. 3-seeded Zephyrs play No. 2 Oostburg, which has lost just one game this season and allowed fewer than five goals. Furthermore, Oostburg defeated the Zephyrs earlier in the season.
Despite the tough task, SMC is excited for a chance to win a gold ball this weekend at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.
"Totally unbelievable," senior Sydney Andersen said. "My older siblings have all gone to state and I've just been dreaming about this since I was very little and it's so incredible to finally be here."
"It's actually so exciting," senior Abbi Thelen said. "We've been very close. Freshman year we made it to sectionals, sophomore year we fell a little short, so I think we're excited to finally push through that sectional final game and make it to the big game as coach would call it, so we're all very excited going into the state tournament."
SMC (18-5) is coming off a 10-1 win over Northland Pines in the sectional final and the fact it scored 10 goals in such a big game has given the Zephyrs confidence entering its biggest game of the season to-date.
"We really have to come out strong," senior Kate Roloff said. "Hopefully, we can score early, maybe get a few more goals, we'll see. They haven't had many goals against them but I think our offense has improved since we played them last."
Oostburg (18-1-3) has allowed just four total goals all season and beat St. Mary Catholic 2-0 in May. Unless the teams battle through two overtimes scoreless, one goal has to be scored, if not more, to advance to Saturday's state championship game.
Andersen leads the Zephyrs with 22 goals and she's optimistic she and her teammates can find the back of the net Friday.
"I have full confidence that the other forwards and I can put the ball in the back of the net," she said. "I think, once again, we know how to beat their defense."
Friday night the Zephyrs will get to prove it.
Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay