INDIANAPOLIS — The Southmont girls’ soccer team began regional play Saturday with a 3-0 win over Centerville (7-5). The Mounties attacked early and often with 32 total shots at goal compared to only two for the Bulldogs. Marissa Craig, Addison Charles and Elle Gray each found the back of the net for the Mounties. With the win in the semifinals, a rematch with Park Tudor (20-2), the defending state champions, was set.
In the regional championship Saturday evening, Coach Keller knew his team was up against a formidable opponent, and the Panthers quickly showed why they are the top-ranked team in 1A. Junior Jenny Walker put Park Tudor on the scoreboard first with a goal at the 37:56 mark of the first half and then scored again just four minutes later. Panthers’ midfielder Katie Hur scored a goal with 22:21 left in the half bringing the score to 3-0, but the Mounties’ defense dug deep and held their opponent scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the half.
Coach Keller made sure to mention the Mounties’ effort at halftime.
“We definitely talked about it. Our girls did a great job continuing to hold them scoreless for that 22 minutes and then for the first couple of minutes in the second half. I’m proud of how our girls played,” he said.
In the second half, Walker completed the hat trick as she scored her third goal with just over 32 minutes remaining. While the Mounties continued to be in defensive mode for the majority of the half, they began to move the ball more freely and eventually got their first and only shot at goal by senior Craig. The Panthers completed their scoring effort with a goal by Gracie Whitaker with 19:39 remaining. Southmont again finished the half strong by holding the defending champs scoreless for the remainder of the game. Junior Belle Miller had an impressive 16 saves at goal to help maintain the final score of 5-0.
In his second year at the helm, Coach Keller has now seen Park Tudor in the regional finals in each of those years.
“They’re a phenomenal team,” he said. “They’re excellently coached, and credit goes to them. They have a lot of potential, and hopefully they’ll go on and win the state title.”
The Mounties end the season with a record of 5-8-1, bringing a close to the careers of seniors Emalie Ayers, Charles, Craig and Darzy Chieppo. Coach Keller was quick to praise his senior crew.
“They did a fantastic job for us this season,” he said. “They’re all great girls, and they are going to be successful in life. I’m proud of how they led the team this year and how hard they always played for me.”
Despite the loss of his seniors, Coach Keller returns a strong nucleus and will begin looking toward next season.
“If we continuously work to improve and get a couple more things accomplished throughout the season, hopefully next season we can get that first regional title,” he said.