Onalaska co-op leaves state with heads held high

As the final seconds ticked away at the Coliseum, emotion overtook the Onalaska co-op bench, not because the game was lost, but because the legacy’s last chapter is now in ink.

Six seniors. Four seasons. Four State appearances.

“The four state appearances is amazing, I am so proud of this team to get back and finish our season here in Madison,” said Hilltoppers senior and Union, New York,-bound Jacyn Reeves. “From the beginning we were the underdogs. A few years we had the target it on our backs, but we always came up from being down. As a Hilltopper I learned to never give up.”

Giving up was never a thought this season for the team, despite losing their top scorer in school history to graduation. Not to mention starting a goalie who last played organized hockey as a seventh-grader.

“We are from all different schools all over,” said Hilltoppers senior Lucy Anderholm. “We have to come to together. We are a family. We would not have the success we had if we did not come together.”

Trailing two to nothing early in the first period, the Hilltoppers came together. A knuckling puck off the stick of a sprinting Reeves made it a one goal game. The goal was followed by a string of nifty saves by sophomore goalie Skylar Dannhoff.

As the second period wore on, the Wildcats’ scoring chances multiplied. Three consecutive scores made it a (5-1) game after two periods.

Onalaska co-op played the final minutes, down five goals, with the intensity of a champion. 2015 does not end in a title, but with a legacy cemented by six seniors that put Hilltopper hockey on the map.

“This has taught me what it is like to put the team before yourself,” said Anderholm. “There is no way to describe what these girls have done for me. I just cannot ask for a better four years.”