Girls soccer sectionals get under way this week at two county sites.
Southmont will be hosting the Class 1A Sectional No. 41 tourney, while Crawfordsville will be the host site for the Class 2A Sectional No. 25.
The Mounties also drew a bye, so they will not play until Thursday at 5 p.m. against South Vermillion.
North Montgomery is also playing at the Crawfordsville sectional, and will open the tournament against Frankfort Tuesday.
The Athenians also drew a bye, and will play Tri-West on Thursday.
MOUNTIES GO FOR 3
South has won the last two sectionals, and first-year coach Phil Keller has been pointing to the postseason since the early days of practice.
“We are in a great position to be successful,” he said. “The team that wins the sectional is the one that can work together as a team, be a hard working team and one that never gives up. I am very happy with how the season has turned out to this point. I have been blessed with a hard-working team.”
The Mounties won the county title, and defeated their Thursday opponent, South Vermillion, by a 7-0 score just last week.
“We have come together as a cohesive team,” Keller said. “We always strive to be the best we can be. Winning the county title was a great accomplishment and puts us in a great spot to have a very successful run into the postseason.”
“Every single girl on the team has improved this year,” he continued. “It is because of their willingness and desire to grow as players and teammates.”
Monrovia, Cascade and North Putnam are the other three teams in the sectional. A Southmont win Thursday puts them into the championship game Saturday.
The Chargers will have to win three matches to claim a title, and they start out against Sagamore Conference foe Frankfort.
“It’s been a few weeks since we played them,” North coach Julie Hodges said. “We played them right when we were starting to get everything figured out. We know them, and they know us. We know it is difficult to beat a team twice, but we just have to play North Montgomery soccer for 80 minutes.”
The Chargers used the whole season to get ready for the sectional.
“We graduated eight starters and it took some time to get some experience under our belts,” Hodges said. “After a slow and rocky start, we went 7-2-1 in our last 10 games after starting 1-5. We found that best fits and the chemistry.”
The Chargers also broke the season scoring record.
“These last five weeks have been a lot of fun watching the team come together,” Hodges said. “We’ve been competitive in every game, which is a really good part of this team.”
Several leaders will be counted on for the tourney.
“Our goalie, Sydnee Turner, has played every minute,” Hodges said of the sophomore. “She is stopping the ones she is supposed to stop. She is our rock, and Makayla Johnson has been really good as a new defender in front of Kelsey Anderson, our only returner.”
Sidney Campbell leads the team in scoring, but Hodges pointed out others.
“We couldn’t have Sidney as our entire offense,” she said. “She is in an incredible player, but teams will work to keep her off the scoreboard. She has become such a complete player this year, and her assists showcase that overall game. Teegan Bacon and Lydia Dugard are really making our offense a full triple threat.”
The Athenians also have a Sagamore foe, as they play Tri-West in the bye game Thursday.
“We have all the room in the world to improve versus Tri-West,” Crawfordsville coach Laurie Vellner said, “so that is our biggest goal. Our season has been one big work in progress and I have reinforced that we need to get better every game no matter the outcome.”
The Athenians have struggled to score goals, but the defense has been solid.
“Our senior goal keeper Sierra Hutchison has been a season-long highlight for us,” Vellner said. “She keeps us in each and every game with her skills. She has once again been the rock of our team.”
Two other seniors have been leaders, in addition to three freshmen looking to the future.
“Our senior captains Faith Rogers and Kiara Martinez have been the leaders we needed,” Vellner said, “and our three freshmen, Lorelei Smitzer-Torbert, Jayda Roach and Cassi Bacon, bring the spunk and firepower this team really needs to improve.”
A win over the Bruins would put the Athenians into the Saturday championship slot.