By Mike Deak
ELKHART – Tuesday night became a battle of attrition as one goal would be enough for two teams to advance in the Class 1-A girls soccer sectional at Elkhart Christian.
Westview 1, Lakeland Christian 0
An unassuming lead-up to the only goal of the match proved the philosophy, ‘just shoot the ball’. An 11th minute rip by Paige Riegsecker from close to 30 yards out not only looked unconventional, but completely caught LCA keeper Finley Hobbs offguard. The wayward shot became the game winner for the Warriors.
Lakeland Christian couldn’t recreate any of the magic Riegsecker made as it was credited with just one shot in the match, and missed out on a pair of first-half build-ups that amounted to nothing dangerous.
Just five minutes into the match, Jessi Calizo made a long run into the Westview back third, and found Keely Bauer sprinting through the middle, but the retreating Westview defense forced Bauer from her direct route, and pushed the ball out of the barren penalty area. LCA also had a corner kick sail directly through the face of the Westview goal, only for the back door to sit unoccupied and again the ball skidding away from danger.
Westview (7-7-2) would end up outshooting LCA 16-1 in the match, ending the Cougars season at 3-8-2.
“I was very happy with the effort of the team,” stated LCA head coach Nat Raber. “These girls played their hearts out. Westview is a really good team and they scored off a well placed shot. We had some chances but weren’t able to convert. Finley kept us in the game and Jessi was a force up front constantly drawing a double team.
The loss brings an end to an era for six seniors who helped build the foundation for the program’s infancy four years ago.
“I can’t say enough positive things about my seniors,” Raber said. “They are a special group for sure and were freshmen when we started up our soccer team. Quality players, leaders, and even better young ladies.”
Bethany Christian 1, Central Noble 0
The scoreline was deceiving as the Bruins completely dominated the match, just weren’t able to punch in more of their opportunities.
Bethany outshot Central 26-0 and controlled nearly all of the possession and 50/50 balls. The only ball that found the net, however, was a 62nd minute strike from Katie Sauder, assisted by Reyna King.
Notable for Central Noble (3-11-1) was the play of its keeper, Megan Kiebel, who made 23 stops, several from short range, to keep her team in it.
Bethany (11-4-2) will meet Westview Thursday at 5 p.m., ahead of host Elkhart Christian and Lakewood Park at 7 p.m. in the sectional semi-finals.