Seniors on the Oregon girls soccer team didn’t get a chance to defend their Division 2 state championship this year.

However, the parents of seniors and the community sent them out in style with a drive-by parade on Thursday, June 4, as players lined Perry Parkway in front of Huntoon Field.

Some tossed colorful confetti and horns honked as drivers made their way past one of the most successful teams in school history. Players pulled out cell phones to take photos and record the moments.

“It’s some sort of closure,” senior forward Avary Fanning said. “We didn’t get to go back (to state). This is an end to the era of our team.”

Oregon captured the state title with a 2-1 shootout win over Whitefish Bay on June 15, 2019 at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee. It was the Panthers’ second title in five years.

Oregon (18-0-1) was making its fifth straight state appearance and won the championship for the first time since 2015. The Panthers finished with a school-record 103 goals and posted 15 shutouts, one away from the school record.

Oregon has also won eight straight Badger South Conference titles.

Senior Hanna Rohrer scored a game-tying goal at the 51:15 mark to force a shootout against Whitefish Bay. The Panthers earned a shot at the title after shutting out Brookfield East 2-0 in the state semifinals.

Oregon goalkeeper Melia Moyer had fond memories of the championship game last season, when she stopped two shots in the shootout to preserve the win.

Moyer, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison this fall and major in chemical engineering, was disappointed the spring season was canceled because of COVID-19.

“It was definitely a little bit of a heartbreaker,” Moyer said. “You always want to come out and defend what you have done.”

Senior defender Emma Halverson was the only returning player who scored in last year’s shootout at state.

The Blue Dukes outshot the Panthers 24-8 and had 14 corner kicks, but Moyer finished with 10 saves.

Moyer entered the championship game with 41 saves and 15 shutouts, one away from the school record set in 2017.

“It’s unexpected to have it taken away,” Moyer said of the spring sports season. “I think it’s really awesome we have been able to come together. It feels good to be recognized for what we have done the past three years.”

Oregon was poised to have a strong chance at repeating as state champions with three first team all-Badger South players coming back in Fanning, Moyer and senior Brooklyn Kane.

Fanning, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in the fall, agreed that coming to grips with the season being over before it started was tough.

“It didn’t feel real for a while until it got to tryouts time and we weren’t practicing,” she said. “I think that it’s been easier for me because we did end it on a great note. My last game with this team was winning.”

Kane plans to play intramural soccer at UW-La Crosse, and was excited to spend one more day with her teammates after being shut down due to COVID-19.

“It’s a good substitute for a bitter goodbye,” Kane said of the send-off parade. “It’s nice to see all of our teammates coming back and being at the field.”