Rangers fall to Eagles in sectional final

Forest Park's Denai Sicard attempts to make a goal during Saturday's girls soccer sectional championship at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville. Evansville Day defeated Forest Park 3-0. Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald


BRETZVILLE — Speed is a lethal commodity on the field, and the Forest Park girls soccer team had plenty of it to exploit as they ran circles around North Posey and South Spencer in the first two rounds of sectional.

But the tables were turned on Saturday night when they ran into the Evansville Day Eagles, another team with the juice to cover the field and match the Rangers step-for-step in a manner that the previous two teams could not

The Eagles used their quickness and crisp passing to move up and down the field at will while denying the Rangers the ability to do the same. And in doing so, the Eagles used two first-half goals plus a penalty kick scored in the first 40 seconds of the second half to defeat the Rangers 3-0 in Saturday’s Class 1A sectional final.

Rangers coach Brad Weyer thought the Rangers played tenatively on Saturday, but also credited the Eagles with a stronger defensive effort than he had anticipated. That combined with their sharp ball movement was too much for the Rangers to overcome.

“They came out to play and we did not,” he said. “They’re very well disciplined. They stay compact, everyone knows their roles. They did a good job of not allowing us any offensive chances. We allowed them to get a couple of early goals, and that’s really what set the tone.”

The Eagles struck less than five minutes into the first half. Senior forward Lauren Goebel found an alley toward the net and after senior forward Danielle Goebel hit her with a pinpoint pass in stride, Lauren used a quick turn of her foot to shoot past sophomore goalie Madison Wathen for the first blow. Twenty minutes later, the Eagles landed another strike after junior defender Lillian Burke leveraged a corner kick from Danielle for the 2-0 lead. The final score came within the opening seconds of the second half after Danielle Goebel was taken down inside the box. She lined up her penalty kick from the corner and knocked it in with machine-like precision for the three-score lead.

A little while after the third score there was a scary moment when Wathen went down after trying to defend a goal in a crowd of players. Play was stopped for over 15 minutes while she was checked by her coaches and loaded into an ambulance as a precautionary measure for a possible neck or back injury. The Rangers were understandably shaken up by the turn of events, but Weyer was optimistic about her condition. However, he believed that the officials could have done more to clear out the box to prevent something like that from happening.

“I wish officiating would have put a stop to that sooner, because it was going on all game,” he said. “It’s unfortunate it had to lead to an injury before something happens.”

Forest Park kept battling when the game resumed, but they were not able to create the kind of shot opportunities they enjoyed in the prior two sectional games. The Rangers were quickly intercepted and cutoff anytime they tried to make a push, and the few times they were able to get in front of the goal, all they could get were rushed shots they were trying to force past incoming defenders. The Rangers were used to using their speed to create windows, but the Eagles were better at closing them on Saturday night.

“We didn’t play to our potential, and it sucks,” said senior forward Denai Sicard. “We were so focused on what we were going to do, right when they scored it caught us off guard. They were a team too, and they were going to stand their ground.”

The sting of the loss was heavy, but Weyer is proud of the team for what they were able to accomplish this year, which included a streak of 10 wins in a row at one point. He said the loss would be used as motivation for the team in the offseason and praised the seniors for their contribuitons to the program while looking toward the future of Forest Park girls soccer.

“A lot of these seniors were starters from the time they were freshmen,” said Weyer. “To see the work they’ve put in, the amount of wins we were able to rack up in four years, getting a sectional championship last year, coming to the sectional championship this year and falling a little bit short, I’m really happy. I think the future is bright here.”

Forest Park's Katie Russell kicks the ball during Saturday's girls soccer sectional championship at Cedar Crest Intermediate School in Bretzville. Evansville Day defeated Forest Park 3-0. Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald


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