SAC Girls Soccer

Athenians drop season finale to Stars

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Crawfordsville’s girls soccer team closed out their regular and conference season with a 3-1 loss to Western Boone, but there were plenty of positive comments afterwards.

The Athenians finish the regular season 5-8-3 and close out their Sagamore Conference schedule at 1-6.

The Stars move to 8-4-1 overall and 4-3 in the league as both teams head to sectional play next week at Danville.

“We struggled to get it in the back of the net,” C’ville coach Alex Ehrlich said. “We had too many players going after the ball, and that created some gaps. What I really liked tonight was how this team played a tough, physical game against a team that wanted to play a tough and physical game. We saw that same type of physical play Monday (in a loss to Tri-West) and we will see it next week in the sectional (against Tri-West).

The Stars scored once in the first half and got two more goals from KaLeigh Steimel after the Athenians tied the match on a penalty kick goal by Riley Gardner.

“I want to take a minute to compliment Crawfordsville,” WeBo coach Shane Steimel said. “They have made huge strides in the last two seasons. Their athleticism and soccer maturity is at such a higher level. They played hard tonight. We knew we were going to have a challenge. Coach (Ehrlich) is building a nice program.”

Ehrlich, in his second season at CHS, acknowledged the coaching compliment and added a couple thoughts.

“I became a teacher because of Crawfordsville High School,” he said. “I have no other place I ever want to go. I drive my fiance nuts with CHS sports. I love being the coach of this team, and I honestly believe it is going to get better. Our freshmen are so coachable, and we have improved so much this season. We have had some young athletes step up in big ways. I’m looking forward to the next few years.”

Gardner, a sophomore, finished with three of the seven shots on goal. Zoey Corbin, a junior, stopped five shots on goal.

“This was a big night for us,” Steimel said. “The win gives us a winning record overall for the first time in six years, and the conference win gives us a Sagamore winning record for the first time in six years. It was the first time this season we played well on turf, and that is a good sign, since the sectional is on turf at Danville. “We had a lot of people step up tonight - everyone contributed. Everyone wants to keep playing.”

Both teams are headed to an all-Sagamore sectional next week.

The Athenians play the Bruins on Tuesday, and the Stars have a bye and play the host Warriors on Thursday. Danville won the league with a 7-0 record and the Bruins finished second at 6-1.

“Tonight was intended to prepare us for Tri-West next week,” Ehrlich said. “We weren’t at our best Monday, and part of that was how physical they played. We did a much better job on that phase tonight. We also had too many times Monday when we were reacting instead of acting, and we also improved that tonight. Make no mistake about it, Tri-West is a good team, but we know we can play with them. This team has done a 180 turnaround from two years ago. We pass out of danger instead of kicking it deep. We play small ball. We didn’t give up any cheap goals tonight, and we can’t do that next week. I am so proud of what this team has done - they are fun to watch, and we will come after Tri-West. We have nothing to lose.”

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