Ranger girls fall, but heartened by program growth

From Herald Staff Reports

Forest Park girls soccer coach Amanda Sicard’s message to her team and her seniors was light and simple midway through the Rangers’ Class 1A regional contest against No. 4 Lawrenceburg on Saturday.

“(I told them), ”˜You have to enjoy the last 40 minutes,” Sicard said. “Not like we couldn’t win, but, in reality, ”˜Just go out there and have fun together. Seniors, enjoy this last half. Try to get a goal.’”

It was an anticlimactic end to an improbable postseason run for the Rangers, who succumbed to the Tigers 6-0 in Lawrenceburg. When Sicard gave her message, the Rangers were already facing a 4-0 halftime deficit against the Tigers (15-3-2). Sicard said she was disappointed in the team’s play — pointing to the bus ride of more than three hours or 40-degree weather as possible reasons for the slow start — but admitted that ultimately, the Rangers just ran into a very talented squad.

“They were just a very good team overall,” she said. “Very technical, very quick on and off the ball.”

The loss ended a season in which the Rangers earned the program’s second sectional title with a 2-0 win over North Harrison. In that sectional, they also exorcised some demons with a 2-1 sudden-death penalty-kick win over rival Heritage Hills, avenging two previous tournament exits at the hands of the Patriots the last two seasons.

For the Rangers, the loss came as a letdown, but the real mourning came with the end to a dramatic season.

“I don’t think they were upset about the loss, I think they were upset the season was over,” Sicard said.

“I said, ”˜Hold your head high. You’re only the second team in school history to win a sectional. Feel proud of that,” she added.

It was a disappointing end, but Sicard pointed to the success of both the girls and boys programs — Forest Park’s boys captured their first regional title Saturday across the state in Fort Branch — as a launching point for her team.

“Hopefully people will realize that (boys soccer coach Brent Sicard) and I are here to ... make this a winning program, like our basketball team, our track team,” Sicard said.

“We’re here to make it one of our top sports in our high school and we’re trying to build a program and hopefully have a better feeder program. But it comes year by year. Both boys and girls won a sectional. ... I think people will see that we’re trying to build.”

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