Onalaska co-op makes fourth straight trip to state

For the fourth straight year, the first weekend in March on the Onalaska girls hockey calendar is marked “Madison.”

Not many outsiders believed it was possible given the departure of the program’s top scorer Teresa Knutson, but the Hilltoppers made it reality.

“Looking around during our contact days in the summer, Jacyn and I knew getting to state was possible, but it was going to be challenging,” said senior Lucy Anderholm.

“It has been a total team effort,” said head coach Tim Franzini. “We knew our success was going to be based on how we came together as team.”

Last Tuesday the season was on the ropes. In the sectional semifinal against Stoughton, an on edge Omni Center played host to a double overtime thriller.

“I was really nervous coming out in the overtime, because I knew this could be it,” said senior Jacyn Reeves. “Every time I came off a shift, I told myself I was going to score to win the game.”

“We saw Jacyn kind of sneak down from defense, and once the puck was on its way we knew it was in,” said Franzini.

Who knows where this Onalaska team would be without sophomore goalie Skylar Dannhoff. Dannhoff is playing the best hockey of her career late in the season, remarkable considering she had been away from the game for more than two years before this season.

Now Dannhoff is just days away from potentially playing for the Wisconsin state title on her 16th birthday.

“She is irreplaceable,” said Reeves. “She has been so amazing, and I cannot describe how happy we are to have a solid goaltender back there.”

The Onalaska co-op team plays in the State Semifinal at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 6 against top-ranked University School co-op of Milwaukee.