In his first year as head coach of the Fond du Lac girls soccer team, Brandon Petersen was a bit in the dark about Maddison Te Stroete.
“I had heard the rumblings throughout the halls of ‘Maddy’s coming out, Maddy’s coming out’ and I’m like ‘Who’s this Maddy?'” Petersen said.
When Petersen saw the light, in the form of Te Stroete’s prowess on the soccer field, he knew he had something. He was just late to the party — the Fond du Lac soccer program was well aware of what Te Stroete brought to the pitch. Now it had her back.
After taking off her junior season of high school soccer to focus on playing for a club team, Te Stroete returned to varsity action for her senior year. She was back with a vengeance.
In earning first team All-Fox Valley Association honors, Te Stroete proved to be one of the more versatile players in the area — playing anywhere the Cardinals needed her. Te Stroete’s return to high school play sparked life into a relatively inexperienced Fond du Lac team to start the year and her consistency throughout the season kept the Cardinals in the mix in the top half of the FVA.
For her contributions on offense, defense and everywhere in between, Te Stroete is the 2015 Action Reporter Media All-Area Girls Soccer Player of the Year.
Te Stroete is joined on the all-area first team by teammates Olivia Larson, Abigail Weinke and Hailey Ahrens, Winnebago Lutheran’s Shelby Zuelke, Cassie Gliszinski and Megan Schwartz, St. Mary’s Springs’ Erin Forsyth, Waupun’s Jenna Hilt, Campbellsport’s Brooke Birschbach and Mayville’s Rachel Wagner.
While in hindsight Te Stroete’s return to high school soccer seems like a no-brainer, it almost didn’t happen. After earning All-FVA honorable mentions her freshman and sophomore seasons with Fond du Lac, Te Stroete decided to focus all her attention last spring on playing with the Vis Major club soccer team in Menasha.
With the departure of former Cardinals coach Greg Winkler — who accepted a soccer coaching job in Florida — and the resulting hardship it put on her former teammates and soon-to-be new coaches, Te Stroete came back for her senior season of Fondy soccer. Petersen, while new to the program and unfamiliar with Te Stroete, immediately recognized the talent she had when he saw her play for the first time.
“I saw her play one indoor game at the Marian league and knew that we had something there,” Petersen said. “When she came in for tryouts and everything, she again just showed that she was prepared and ready to go. We knew we had something. It was just kind of figuring out where she would best suit the team.”
To start the season, Te Stroete best suited the Cardinals as a midfielder, despite playing defense for much of her career. With the loss of many of Fond du Lac’s top goal-scorers from a season ago, Petersen wanted stability in the attack. Te Stroete certainly brought that, scoring eight goals with three assists in her time as a midfielder.
“We had a very young attack coming into this season,” Petersen said. “A lot of inexperience and even in our midfield, so we kind of threw her into the midfield, knowing her ability to control the game, win 50/50 balls, control the ball. We just kind of put her up there to see how that was working for a while. Obviously it went very well, down at the (Waukesha) Catholic Memorial tournament with her scoring four goals in three games against very good competition.”
Soon, the attack was operating well and Te Stroete’s presence was needed more on the defensive end — her natural position. Making the transition seamlessly, she helped shore up the defense for the second half of the season. That flexibility and how well she performed in multiple roles led to a first team all-conference selection in the ultra-competitive FVA, an honor that nearly everyone but Te Stroete anticipated.
“I was kind of a little shocked, even though everyone else seemed to think that it wasn’t that shocking,” Te Stroete said. “I didn’t really expect that.”
Fond du Lac ended the season with an 11-8-3 record and fourth-place finish in the FVA — about on par for where it was in 2014, despite the loss of so many key players. It wouldn’t have been possible without Te Stroete.
That Te Stroete is going on to play Division 2 college soccer at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana isn’t too surprising given her skill set. Add to that the versatility she showed in 2015 and Petersen thinks she’s ready for the next level.
“She’s very adaptable and very coachable,” Petersen said. “She’s one who’s very quiet and everything, but when you give her some instruction, she’s going take it to heart and she’s going to attempt to do it, which is obviously going to transition very well to the college level where who knows what system of play she might be going into, what position they’re even looking at.
“It’s great to see that she’s kind of that all-around player where no matter where she goes, she is going to give it her all and figure out ways to make things work. Even on defense, she would have those little light-bulb moments where it almost was like ‘I’m going to take this game over’ and she’d take the ball up in the attack from center D and we’d all just kind of sit there and go ‘There’s Maddy being Maddy.'”
Sam Oleson: (920) 907-7930, email@example.com or follow on Twitter @sam_olesonFDL
2015 Action Reporter Media All-Area Girls Soccer Team
Maddison Te Stroete, Senior, Fond du Lac
Shelby Zuelke, Senior, Winnebago Lutheran
Cassie Gliszinski, Junior, Winnebago Lutheran
Erin Forsyth, Senior, St. Mary’s Springs
Megan Schwartz, Senior, Winnebago Lutheran
Olivia Larson, Senior, Fond du Lac
Abigail Weinke, Senior, Fond du Lac
Jenna Hilt, Senior, Waupun
Brooke Birschbach, Senior, Campbellsport
Hailey Ahrens, Soph., Fond du Lac
Rachel Wagner, Fresh., Mayville
Shannon Ahern, Junior, St. Mary’s Springs
Erin Butzke, Senior, Winnebago Lutheran
Claire Zacherl, Junior, St. Mary’s Springs
Katrina Regnerus, Senior, Central Wisc. Christian
Rosie Aguirre, Senior, Lomira
Becka Garriety, Senior, Lomira
Kaitlyn Baudhuin, Senior, Mayville
Maddy Post, Senior, North Fond du Lac/Oakfield
Zoe Pantel, Soph., Fond du Lac
Tiffani Anderson, Junior, Campbellsport
Sam Mastalish, Senior, Mayville
Campbellsport: Hannah Mrochinski. Mayville: Emily Struck. North Fond du Lac/Oakfield: Reilly Luoko. St. Mary’s Springs: Melissa Ringwell, Anna Huck, Caitlin Fellers. Waupun: Madeline Keach. Winnebago Lutheran: McCara Steinhilber, Sarah Jacobs.