LINDEN – An offensive barrage quickly turned into a defensive battle between two evenly matched teams in North Montgomery and Southmont girls’ soccer on Saturday.
Scoreless for the last 67 minutes of regulation and two seven-minute overtime periods — the Mounties edged the Chargers 2-2 (2-1) in a shootout to earn the county and Sagamore Conference victory and give Southmont a 4-2 advantage in the Montgomery County Chase standings over Crawfordsville.
Alivia Williams and Madison Chadwick each scored and goalkeeper Belle Miller saved two North Montgomery shots to lift Southmont to the win.
“We have a lot of good experience on our team and that helps a lot,” Southmont coach Phil Keller said. “In the last three seasons I’ve been here, we’ve been in four or five shootouts, so we’ve got a lot of great experience coming into these games and we are able to stand up tall and keep our heads up even when the pressure is on and keep moving forward even when our backs are against the wall.”
A low scoring affair didn’t seem likely after 15 minutes of play.
With 15-20 mile per hour winds blowing out of the south, it was clear conditions favored Southmont in the first half and would flip to North Montgomery’s advantage in the second half.
Shakhia Burks started the scoring spree for the Mounties in the third minute of the game, before the Chargers responded with two goals to take a 2-1 lead.
Teegan Bacon scored in the fourth minute and then assisted a Paityn Church goal. Southmont’s Emma Phillips tied it in the 13th minute and the scoring suddenly stopped just as quick as it started.
“The overall atmosphere and intensity of the game,” Keller said. “I mean it’s a county rival game with big things on the line. Everybody is excited and has the jitters coming out.”
North Montgomery coach Julie Hodges was pleased with the effort in the first half, and with the wind at their back — had confidence the Chargers would come through in the second half.
“Even with the first half and with the wind horrible, we felt like possession wise we won possession and both goals they scored in the first half were our mistakes,” she said. “So we were really excited going into halftime even with the way the wind was and then the second half I think mentally knowing we had the wind, we settled for too many outside shots. We were getting lots of shots, but they weren’t quality shots.”
North Montgomery put just two shots on goal in the first half and both found the back of the net, but all 15 shots they squared up in the second half were saved by Southmont’s Miller.
“Can’t say enough about Belle Miller,” Keller said. “She’s a great leader, a great person to have on our team and I love coaching her. Not only does she want to win, but she wants to be a great teammate in the process and bring the other girls along with her and she’s doing an excellent job for us.”
And while the Chargers were struggling to square up shots, a defensive adjustment by Southmont to put Chloe Lynn on Bacon, who contributed to both Charger goals in the first half and was coming off a five-goal game on Thursday, paid off for the Mounties.
“We recognized real quick and we already knew the problem she would bring for us,” Keller said. “Especially after that first goal and I believe she assisted the second goal and after we realized how big of an impact she would have, we quickly made an adjustment in putting Chloe Lynn on her and it worked out for the better for us and Chloe did an excellent job staying with her and marking up and controlling her.”
North Montgomery, who drops to 2-2 on the season, celebrated seniors Sydnee Turner, Caitlin Burns, Rachel Smith, Lindsey Jaimez, Makayla Johnson, Maggie Michael, Courtney Engels, Gracen Schwabe, Halee Claycomb, and Lydia Dugard on Saturday.
“It’s a huge group and there’s 11 of them when you include our managers,” Hodges said. “Three of them are captains, and almost all of them are returning lettermen. They’re part of what has formed our North Montgomery soccer culture. We feel like we’ve established a solid culture for our program to be competitive, play with class and sportsmanship and all that kind of stuff. It was seniors before us and this group was a huge turning point and they’re now leaving their legacy for the group behind them.”
The Chargers are at International on Monday, while Southmont improves to 6-2-1 and will host SAC foe Tri-West on Monday.