Pats top Cats for fourth straightSeptember 14, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER — A two-game skid at the end of August appeared to be a hiccup for Heritage Hills, who came away with its fourth consecutive win on Tuesday.
The Class 2A-No. 11 Patriots (8-2) reeled off a 4-0 victory against Jasper on what was senior night for the Wildcats (3-7). Sophomore Sidney Ayer got the Pats on the board with 32:42 left to go in the first half. That was technically all they needed, but they added on from there.
Freshman Sierra Shelton launched a high kick into the net for an insurance goal with a 2-0 lead with 17:39 remaining in the opening half. Seniors Hadley Lytton and Macey Toler each chipped in a goal before halftime to bring the game to its final score.
“The girls are just doing a fantastic job of taking stuff we’re working on in practice and bringing it to the game,” Heritage Hills coach Andy Fischer said. “They love each other, they really lean on each other — because not everybody’s going to have a great game always, and there’s always somebody to pick them up. And that’s just a mark of a great team.”
Heritage Hills controlled the ball for much of the way, but Jasper managed to get some balls in each half. The Wildcats had a couple of opportunities with less than 20 minutes to go in the first half, and fired a ball just above the Heritage Hills net early in the second half.
Jasper sophomore Lilly Rasche had a penalty kick with minutes to go in the game, but she couldn’t get it past fellow sophomore, keeper Ally Schipp of Heritage Hills. The Wildcats did, however, manage to keep the Pats off the board entirely in the second half.
“We talked to the girls at halftime about just the mental side of it and the heart — being into it a little bit,” Jasper coach Michael Donato said. “And I think just that little extra helped out quite a bit. Really, the only thing they were looking to do was kick a ball long and run on it. So, once you understand that that’s kind of what they’re doing, it’s a little bit easier to defend against it.”
The Wildcats may not have been able to deliver a victory on senior night, but they celebrated and honored their four seniors before the game. Donato told The Herald that the quartet of Avery Knies, Ava Harmon, Olivia Byrd and Maggie Hubster are kind of like daughters almost. They came in as freshmen, he’s loved all of their attitudes and he will miss them.
“They take this game for what it is — meaning they’re out here to enjoy it,” he said. “They’re enjoying the fact that they’re playing high school sports, and they don’t let it get to them too much, which is really nice.”
Jasper was originally slated to be back at it Thursday at rival Vincennes Lincoln in a Southern Indiana Athletic Conference matchup. However, that game has been moved ahead to Wednesday.
“It’s tough because we like having that recovery day,” Donato said. “Sometimes, the girls surprise you. It’s honestly going to be, ‘Don’t stay up too late, get home, get hydrated, get a good night’s sleep.”
Heritage Hills, meanwhile, is set to have Wednesday off before returning Thursday at home against Pocket Athletic Conference rival Princeton.
“They don’t back down, they play really hard,” Fischer said of the Tigers. “So, we’re going to have to come ready to play.”
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