GOSHEN – It’s a well-known saying that all good things must come to an end.
That was the case of the stellar season for the Warsaw girls soccer team Saturday night.
Perennial power and Class 2-A No. 4 South Bend St. Joseph put and end to the Tigers’ postseason run with a 3-1 victory in the Goshen Regional championship contest.
Warsaw knew that this would not be an easy match-up by any stretch of the imagination and those thoughts were confirmed in the sixth minute of play when St. Joe senior Rachel Staud found the back of net to give St. Joe an early 1-0 lead. Staud was assisted by Catherine Raster on the goal.
Warsaw refused to let the early goal change the tide of the game as the Tigers came back out and pressured the athletic St. Joe defense. Warsaw was able to keep St. Joe on its heels which led to a shot on goal from Meredith Hollar which was deflected off of the cross bar and then booted in by senior Sydney Rose. The goal knotted the match up 1-1 in the 14th minute of play. Hollar was credited with an assist on the play.
After the game St. Joe head coach Johan Kuitse seemed surprised by Warsaw’s quick response, “We haven’t had a team tie us up that quickly in a while and it forced us to respond.”
The response Kuitse was referring to came less than a minute later in the game’s 15th minute when Raster sliced through the Warsaw defense and got the ball to fellow senior Kate Vasile who put it in the goal and put St. Joe back on top, 2-1.
That would be the score heading into the locker room. By half time, St. Joe had more than doubled Warsaw’s shots on goal having eight to Warsaw’s three.
Warsaw attempted to mount its comeback in the second half but never really got a good shot to do so. Senior Alex Noppert guided a few possessions deep in Lady Indian territory but never seemed to have a teammate in the right position to get a clear shot.
St. Joe on the other hand had quite a few opportunities to extend its lead but was kept scoreless for the better part of the second half thanks to outstanding play from Lady Tiger keeper Abby Schue.
Schue, who finished the night with 14 saves, had her work cut out for her against a potent Lady Indian attack. Warsaw head coach Dan Miller may have described St. Joe’s offense perfectly after the game stating, “They just have a killer instinct to go to goal.”
Schue denied that killer instinct to the best of abilities until Raster directed her team down field one last time and set up another scoring play. This time is was Lady Indian freshman Meredith Greve that would score, putting a dagger in Warsaw’s comeback hopes in the 72nd minute. Greve was assisted by Staud on the play.In the second half, St. Joe again out shot Warsaw, racking up another six shots on goal for a total of 14 on the night. Warsaw only managed two shots on goal in the second half, ending its night with a total of five.
After the game Miller focused more on the positives from the season.
“I’m proud of us for going toe-to-toe with them for 80 minutes. It speaks a lot for us even from where we were three years ago in the regional final against Penn.”
The coach made a point to thank his seniors for their contributions over the past four years, “We will miss all nine of them. All nine of them were contributors in some way. It’s a lot of talent to replace and they’ve done such a good job developing and growing through the program.”
The Lady Tigers end their memorable 2012 campaign with a 13-5-2 record and a third consecutive trip to regionals. With the standard that this senior class has set, it seems as if this good thing that has ended will lead to an even greater future for the Lady Tiger soccer program.
St. Joe, which won the state title in 2010, improves to 19-2 on the season and advances to semi-state after claiming its fourth consecutive regional championship. The Lady Indians will host the semi-state next Saturday in South Bend. St. Joe faces No. 2 Hamilton Southeastern (19-2-1) in the first semifinal at 10 a.m. No. 16 Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger (15-4) then plays No. 19 Crown Point (18-3) at noon.
The winners play in the semi state title match at 7 p.m. for a spot in the Class 2-A state championship game on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis.