By RICHIE HALL
Reporter Sports Editor
The first year of the IHSAA’s three-class girls soccer tournament saw last year’s 2A sectional champions become this year’s 3A sectional champions.
Noblesville and Guerin Catholic defended their titles Saturday evening. The No. 5-ranked Millers traveled to Hamilton Southeastern to take on the No. 7 Royals, and finished the windy evening with a 1-0 victory.
Meanwhile, the No. 4 Golden Eagles played an epic final with No. 3 Carmel at their own field. Guerin survived heavy rains in the second half and a penalty kick shootout to edge the Greyhounds, 4-2 in the shootout. (The official score is 1-0.)
Noblesville and Southeastern started their game at 6 p.m., so they thankfully just missed the rain. One Miller who didn’t miss was Jenna Chatterton. She found the back of the net with 14:52 left in the first half for the game’s only goal.
After that, Noblesville held on through the second half to re-claim the trophy. The win qualifies the Millers for the Logansport regional, where they will play Fort Wayne Carroll in next Saturday’s second semi-final, which kicks off at noon. Carroll defeated East Noble 3-0 to win its own sectional.
“This team has battled all year,” said Noblesville coach Mike Brady. “A number of games that have been one goal, and they won another one-goal game tonight. They fight for 80 minutes again, and now we just come back, train and fight next weekend as well.”
The Millers are 12-2-3 for the season, while Southeastern finished its season 13-6-1.
“That’s one of the best teams in the state over there, and if you’re going to be successful, you have to compete for 80 minutes and I thought we did,” said Brady.
Two of the state’s best teams did indeed meet at HSE. Two more of the state’s best teams met at Guerin Catholic, in a game that saw the drama level go off the charts.
The heavily-advertised rains had been staying away for most of the game, but finally made an appearance during the second half. And they made their presence known, dumping buckets of water on to the field and fans, many of whom went scrambling for cover.
The Golden Eagles and the Greyhounds played through the rain, though. They played…but didn’t score. There were no goals after regulation, so it was on to the two seven-minute overtime periods.
Still no score. That meant the game would be decided by penalty kicks. Both teams made their first attempt, but GC’s Claire Gavin stopped Carmel’s second attempt. Megan Wampler kicked the next attempt to give Guerin a 2-1 lead, and the Golden Eagles kept the advantage from there. Adele Stradling’s kick won it for Guerin Catholic.
“Such a mentally strong to play a group like Carmel like that,” said Golden Eagles coach Jonathan McClure. “Twice in one season, through 80 minutes, through all the rain, through all the sideways – it felt like sleet and everything, with the zero visibility – to just keep doing their thing and earn them an opportunity to go ahead and keep the title here at Guerin Catholic. And they were able to do it. Very, very proud of them.”
Both Guerin’s Gavin and Carmel’s Emily Melchi had three saves for their respective teams. The Golden Eagles are now 13-1-1, while the Greyhounds finished their season 15-2-2.
Guerin Catholic will take on Plainfield in the second semi-final at Zionsville, which kicks off at noon next Saturday. The Quakers defeated Avon 3-0 to win their own sectional.
By RICHIE HALL