Adrianna Bratel set a specific goal for her sophomore season as the Greendale High School girls soccer goalkeeper.
'I wanted to get at least seven shutouts this season,' she said.
When Bratel and the Panthers blanked Whitnall 1-0 on May 27 and played Kenosha Indian Trail to a 0-0 tie on May 30, she indeed finished the regular season with seven shutouts.
The fact that she reached her goal should not come as a surprise to anyone who knows her.
Bratel has remained extremely focused and productive on and off the field even though she is dealing with some family difficulties.
Her parents divorced four years ago, and the mother left the area. Bratel has not had any contact with her mother for over two years.
'She is going through high school without probably the most important person in a young lady's life,' said her father, Brad. 'I find it amazing how strong, confident and level-headed she has become. A lot of kids would look for excuses on why life is too difficult, but she seems to stay focused and gets done what needs to be done.'
Achieves off the field
Adrianna not only is a high achiever on the soccer field for the Panthers, but in other areas as well.
She carries a 3.3 grade-point average at Greendale and is a member of the student council, the math club and the Greendale Against Bullying group, which visits the elementary and middle schools to talk to students about the effects of bullying.
In addition, she performs community service through her church.
When asked how she manages to juggle all these activities, Adrianna replied, 'It's just a matter of time management.'
She does feel the void of not having a mother around, however.
'My father has always been there for me,' she said. 'It's been just me, dad and my sister for a while now. I just have to deal with it. It is hard not having a mother figure in my life, but my dad's girlfriend does a lot for me.'
She shows her strong family connections in another manner as well.
Whenever she is on the soccer field, she has the name 'Gabby' written on her cleats. Gabby is her 11-year-old sister who has a rare genetic disorder that affects her speech and other abilities.
'I am always playing for her,' she said.
Brad added, 'That little girl who will never get to play varsity sports is on the field every time Adrianna competes.'
Adrianna is doing Gabby proud, as she put together a fine season with the Panthers, who improved to 5-6 in Woodland Conference play and begin WIAA Division 2 regional play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 5, at Union Grove.
'Adrianna has been challenged a lot this season, especially since we played against many of the top teams in the area and for the most part, she has kept us in the games,' said head coach George Knezic. 'She's a very tough individual who plays the game year-round, and it shows in her performance.
'As a sophomore goalkeeper, she's one of the best that I've coached in high school. She's a leader on the field and has high expectations of all the players and coaches.'
Bratel has faced a high number of shots this season, as shown by her imposing total of 247 saves, or 11.7 saves per contest.
'I know I've faced many shots,' she said, 'but this will benefit me in the long run. It gets me a lot of work and practice.'
Adrianna has been involved with soccer since age 3, when Brad helped set her up with the Milwaukee Kickers program, and she just kept playing.
She took over the goalkeeper position at age 8 and has attended many training camps for keepers over the years.
Loves to save shots
'I enjoy the thrill of saving shots,' she said. 'I try to cut off the angles.
'I usually set up centered in the goal, then angle myself depending on the shot. Sometimes, you need to make the diving saves.'
The spring soccer season is drawing to a close, but Bratel will not be idle in the summer, as she plans to play on a traveling softball team.
Ultimately, she hopes to play soccer in college and is hoping for a scholarship.
Brad thinks she has a bright future in soccer.
'She received some compliments from Indian Trail coaches, parents and opposing players (on May 30), and I don't think this will be the last you hear of her in girls soccer,' he said. 'She is a special kid who does everything the right way.'