Rangers hold off Pats, stay undefeated

Photos by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Forest Park freshman Audrey DeLagrange (15) plays a ball Tuesday against Heritage Hills, with Patriots sophomore Nadia Eisenhauer (13) pursuing. The Rangers came away with a 2-1 victory to improve to 5-0.


BRETZVILLE — Forest Park showcased its Class 1A No. 1 ranking in a matchup of local versus local, Pocket Athletic Conference foes and two ranked teams Tuesday night.

The Rangers (5-0, 3-0) remained undefeated when they held off Heritage Hills, 2-1, on Tuesday night at Cedar Crest Intermediate. The Indiana Soccer Coaches Association bestowed this honor upon Forest Park, and did the same for the Patriots (4-2, 2-1) as the No. 12 team in Class 2A.

Senior Ella Schnieders got the Pats on the board with 17:20 left to go in the game — with fellow senior Macey Toler feeding her the assist. But in spite of Heritage Hills’ chances after the Schnieders goal, Forest Park found a way to hang tight and preserve its spotless record.

“We had some miscommunication in the back line, which ultimately allowed them to get a great look and they finished,” Rangers coach Brad Weyer said. “But overall, I’m really happy with the way we finished those last 10 minutes. We just got to put together a full 80 if we want to reach our full potential.”

“Every time you go over to play Forest Park — they’re a great program,” Pats coach Andy Fischer said. “You know it’s going to be solid, it’s going to be a back-and-forth game because that’s just what the two schools are. It’s a friendly rivalry, the girls know each other a whole lot and you know it’s going to be a great game.”

Heritage Hills made some pushes to try to tie the game. Senior Hadley Lytton got a ball off in the second half, and Schnieders attacked the net in pursuit of her second goal. However, Forest Park senior keeper Madison Wathen, who was shaken up for a bit after colliding with Toler that forced a stoppage in play with 19:11 left, was there to keep the lead for her team.

Wathen caught Lytton’s ball, and stopped Schnieders’ shot before diving to cover the ball up.

“Madison’s a tank,” Weyer said. “Knock on wood, she’s indestructible. She takes a hit and keeps on going — she is absolutely incredible. And she’s so humble, and she works so hard in training — and that’s what makes her so incredible. There’s a reason she’s been a four-year starter. She’s earned it and she plays like every game is her last.”

Sophomore MaKenize Smith (15) looks to get off a throw in Tuesday for Heritage Hills. The Patriots dropped a 2-1 loss to Forest Park.

It didn’t take long for the scoring to start. Senior Emma Grundhoefer, who had a hat trick on Saturday against North Harrison, put a ball past sophomore keeper Ally Schipp of the Pats for a 1-0 Forest Park lead at the 35:12 point in the first half.

Weyer lauded Grundhoefer for how hard she played in Tuesday’s game, and it became apparent to him that she didn’t want to lose the game, which he chalked up to her work ethic, leadership and mentality.

Both teams would vie for the ball and try to make something happen. However, Forest Park made it a 2-0 game with 10:24 left in the first half with an own goal attributed to Heritage Hills.

“I think that’s (a) credit to our pressure and our pressing in those scenarios,” Weyer said. “That’s unlucky, but that’s just the way the ball bounces sometimes.”

“It’s one of those balls that it was kind of banging around like a pinball all over the place,” Fischer said. “It was just an unlucky event. Usually, that doesn’t happen, but every once in a while, it does. And the girls didn’t hang their hands, they didn’t lay down, they kept on fighting and they found a way to keep competing the entire game.”

Fischer said Heritage Hills made some offensive adjustments by moving some players around, with things going well like playing to the feet and getting more corner kicks. The Pats simply didn’t get the shots to go in when they needed to, and as Fischer put it, his team ran out of time on Tuesday.

The Pats will try to stop the current two-game skid that they’re on, and they’ll have some time to clean things up before Saturday’s scheduled game at fellow PAC foe Gibson Southern.

“These are a great bunch of girls, and they know what fuels their fire,” Fischer said. “We got great leaders, we’ll come back and we’ll work on the things we need to work on and keep on getting better — and see how the chips fall on Saturday.”

Forest Park, meanwhile, is scheduled to be back at it Thursday at Southridge for another PAC showdown.

“We just got to do a better job of finishing games off,” Weyer said. “The last 5-10 minutes, I’m happy with how we finished, but we can’t have lulls in the middle of the game right around that 60-minute mark to where we kind of let up and then let them in the door.”

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