Sectional soccer brings despair, joyOctober 4, 2017
By JONATHAN SAXON
BRETZVILLE — Two teams started their march toward a Class 1A sectional title Tuesday as Vincennes Rivet and Northeast Dubois both overcame their quarterfinal opponents — though in very different fashions.
Vincennes Rivet, ranked No. 3 in 1A, edged out No. 8 Forest Park 2-1 in the first match of the doubleheader at Cedar Crest Intermediate School, while Northeast Dubois eased past North Knox 4-0 in the second meeting between the teams this season for its first sectional triumph since 2008.
It was a tightly contested first half of play between the Rangers (9-7-1) and Patriots (12-5-1), as the teams exchanged shots early and often. The keepers remained stout for the most part — however, both teams managed to find the opponent’s net before halftime.
Emma Louden got Forest Park on the board in the opening 40 minutes, while Janine Anderson tallied for Rivet.
The defensive stalemate would resume in the second half until Patriot freshman forward Maggie Earley managed to sneak past the Ranger defense and hammer home a teammate’s feed for the go-ahead goal with about 15 minutes to play.
“It was really stressful. I personally don’t like 1-1 games,” Earley said. “Usually I’m not very good at crosses in practice, but I kicked it. I was kind of surprised at myself.”
Rivet coach John Anderson said his team performed admirably in spite of a few girls playing sick. He believed the character his team demonstrated on the field helped carry it past a well-versed Forest Park team that he hopes the Patriots can match up against in the future, both in the regular season and postseason.
“We started a little bit sluggish on the field tonight,” he said. “But this was a tested group from what they’ve been through last year. I thought that they came through. The leadership showed out on the team, and it really helped out for us.”
Anderson credited his team’s athleticism and speed as being key factors that helped the Patriots break through the defensive gridlock that characterized most of the game. He also thinks that lends his girls a certain level of versatility their opponents cannot match.
“We played all season long moving people around different positions,” he said. “You’re looking at our No. 4 forward that got that goal. We have the capability of moving all our players around and using them in many spots.”
Forest Park coach Brad Weyer said he was proud of the way the Rangers performed, and he is encouraged and looking forward to next season based on what he saw on the field Tuesday night.
“My side came out ready to play tonight,” he said. “The past couple of games we had some slow starts, but we were ready to play tonight. The girls really fought well. I’m really proud of their efforts through the whole 80 minutes.”
Weyer said the team decided to change up its playing style and adopt a more possession-based strategy for this game. The Rangers managed to maintain possession for about 50 minutes, but mistakes made in transition allowed the Patriots just enough of an advantage.
However, he commended his girls for stepping up throughout the season and playing beyond their youth — the team only had one senior and three juniors — especially when they lost two starting defenders earlier in the year to ACL injuries.
“Everyone is playing beyond their age. I’m really happy with the way the season turned out,” he said. “We took a very good team down to the final minute, which you can’t beat yourself up too bad about that. The future’s bright at Forest Park.”
In the nightcap, the Jeeps (5-10) took down the Warriors (0-11) in a more one-sided affair. Northeast Dubois swarmed its overmatched opponent, following up on an 8-1 victory over North Knox on August 26.
Northeast Dubois coach Dylan Robling said he noticed a couple mistakes his team will have to work on in the next few days, but he was happy about how his girls dictated the game by controlling the ball for most of its duration.
“They were able to keep a lot of possession, which was fantastic,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been working on all year. Soccer’s not (only) about scoring goals. They played really well in that sense.”
Sophomore forward Amberly Jacob, who scored two of the Jeeps’ four goals, said team synergy is key, and if they can continue to work as a cohesive unit they will continue producing positive results.
“As a team, we have improved much from last year,” she said. “We’ve been working together, and when we work together that’s when good stuff happens.”
Robling, whose team also received goals from Lianna Shepard and Olivia Rasche, said he is looking forward to a rematch against Rivet in Thursday’s sectional semifinals. Northeast Dubois lost 10-0 when the teams squared off on Sept. 26, but the coach said the Jeeps weren’t at full strength and hope for a better result now that they’re firing on all cylinders.
“We had several girls hurt, and they weren’t able to see everyone we had,” he said. “I know our girls want it. They’re going to come out fighting.”
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