Boys' looking to capture 2nd state title in past 3 years.

By Brendan O'Brien |

Following a historical – and we mean historical – victory in Thursday’s WIAA D4 Sectional against Lake Mills, the Prairie boys’ soccer team advances to play Sturgeon Bay for the 2019 State Championship.

Having defeated Sturgeon Bay 1-0 in the 2017 title game, a victory on Saturday would earn the Hawks their second championship in three seasons.

The Prairie girls’ team won the 2019 WIAA State Championship in June.

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THE DIVISION 4 FIELD:   The Prairie School was issued the top seed in the bracket. The Hawks return to the tournament field for the ninth time overall and for the first time since 2017. In their previous eight experiences at State, they have advanced to the title game in each of the appearances, including six championships. The Hawks won back-to-back titles on two different occasions. They captured Division 3 titles in 2004-05 and then duplicated that feat in  2010-11. They won Division 4 crowns in 2014 and 2017. Their other two experiences resulted in runner-up finishes in Division 3 in 2003 and in Division 4 in 2014. Prior to joining the WIAA as a former member of WISAA, the Hawks finished runner-up four times­–in 1985, 1993, 1995 and 1996. Last weekend, they defeated Brookfield Academy 3-0 in the sectional final hosted by the Hawks to continue their pursuit of a seventh title. They finished first in the Metro Classic Conference this season. Second-seeded Sturgeon Bay qualifies for the third year in a row and for the eighth time overall. It is also the Clippers’ sixth State appearance in the last seven seasons. They won the program’s only championship in 2015 and finished runner-up in 2017. This season, they advance to the semifinals by outlasting Oostburg, 2-1, in overtime, in the final of the Kohler Sectional. They are the champions of the Packerland Conference this year. Third-seeded Northland Pines qualifies for the State Tournament for the eighth time and for the first time since 2007. Each of the Eagles’ previous experiences came in Division 2. They are attempting to advance beyond the semifinals for the first time. The Eagles cruised past Columbus Catholic 8-2 in the Nekoosa Sectional final played at Wisconsin Rapids to earn their berth in the tournament field. They tied for first place in the Great Northern Conference this season with Medford. Fourth-seeded Lake Mills is celebrating its first trip to the State Tournament, advancing via a 3-2 shootout after a 2-2 tie with Lake Country Lutheran in the Madison Country Day Sectional final. The L-Cats finished tied for third place in the Capitol Conference this season.