When listing just the recent injuries his now two-time North Shore Conference champion girls soccer team has had to endure this spring, veteran Homestead coach Rich Dorn couldn't help but break into an ironic and sadly joking rendering of a favorite holiday song:
'There was one concussion, then another, two appendixes. And a partridge in a pear tree.'
Even given all that, the Highlanders (6-0 in league play and 12-5-1 overall) still managed to clinch that second straight title with a gritty 1-0 win over Whitefish Bay on May 17.
Homestead, ranked third in the Division 2 state poll, followed that win with a tough (with still more injuries) loss to unbeaten and top-ranked (in Division 1) Brookfield Central, 4-2, on May 19.
Homestead looked to finish the conference schedule on an unbeaten note with its closer against Cedarburg on May 24.
Dorn has been impressed with the team's tenacity in the face of adversity.
'To our credit, we do have the depth to handle some of this stuff,' he said. 'We're just going from one day to the next doing the best we can. We were actually doing well against Central until a couple more injuries slowed us down.'
Dorn is crossing his fingers that he will have almost everyone back in time for the soon-to-start WIAA playoffs.
'The story all year for us has been 'next woman up!' Injuries, flu, we're still OK,' he said.
That would make high-level games — like they played against fourth-ranked Bay (10-3-3) on May 17 — a little easier.
Dorn was impressed with the defensive effort against a dangerous Blue Dukes side and finally got the game-winner in the 54th minute as freshman Liz White hit a well-placed corner kick to senior Alex Lutz, who was sitting at far right post.
Lutz made perfect contact and headed it in for the only score of the contest.
'She was in the perfect place at the perfect time,' said Dorn. 'It was an excellent game. They (the Blue Dukes) knew they needed a win so they came at us with everything they had. In the face of that, I thought we competed very effectively. Every shot they put on goal, we fought back from.
'We really played with some determination and ultimately got a goal. And the defense was a total team effort, which we needed to have to get that result.'
Kelli Ausman had four saves and Hannah Malicky five for the Highlanders.
'Before the game, I asked my assistant, Tony (Navarre), what kind of results can we measure to tell us that we were doing all right,' said Dorn, 'and Tony said, 'competing.''
'That's not really measurable, but it is visible. Sometimes you just have to go out and play. We were just outstanding that way for 90 minutes,' Dorn said.