A pair of sectional final rematches from the fall of 2018 took place Tuesday evening (Sept. 3) on the Batesville High School campus.
Unfortunately for the host Bulldogs, similar results were posted as defending girls soccer champ South Dearborn won a 2-1 match after 2018 boys tennis champ East Central mirrored its 3-2 win from last September.
Despite not playing the first half with what head coach Kyle Laker calls “that same intensity and aggressiveness that Batesville soccer is known for,” the Lady Bulldogs still found themselves in a scoreless tie after the first 40 minutes.
The stalemate lifted only 33 seconds into the last half and, following a Batesville equalizer at 34:44, the Lady Knights went ahead for good at 28:56.
“Coming into the game, we had that chip on our shoulder ... or at least I hoped we did,” said Laker. “I got on them a little at halftime, saying we need to stop sitting back and go out there and be the aggressors again.”
Seconds after the pep talk, Knight senior Erin Huber collected a loose ball inside the Bulldogs’ 18-yard box and booted it past goalkeeper Olive Cerniglia.
Over the next five minutes, the hosts played “their best soccer of the game,” according to Laker. The reward for that stretch came on Batesville’s second corner kick of the half. Senior Ellie Cassidy took the corner and found classmate Liz Heidlage in the goalie box for a header past keeper Sydnee Holder.
Not six minutes elapsed before Huber spotted up again with a clean look at the netting. Taking a pass from the right side, the Knights’ co-captain shot a diagonal ball into the side net.
“Our goal was for our center backs to stay marking Huber,” Laker said. “She punished us twice so we have to look at film to see how she gets so open.”
In a defensive first-half struggle, neither side really threatened the other’s goal. Not only was the score 0-0, but each team managed four pedestrian shots on goal.
After surrendering a second goal to SD, the Bulldogs kept focused for the majority of the half and had several looks for the tie.
“I thought the first 30 minutes of the second half we played our game,” said the coach. “We had overlapping runs and played the plays we wanted. The last 10 minutes seemed like we went back in that shell again. I don’t know what happened, but we’ll fix it.”
Both teams finished with 9 shots on goal and Cerniglia came up with 5 saves.
The Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference loss means the Bulldogs have to be perfect in conference play the rest of the fall. East Central was 3-0 as of Thursday.
“It makes it tough now,” said Laker. “We have to run the table and I think we can do that.”
SD won the junior varsity match earlier by a 3-2 score.
Senior Carlie Werner scored four of Batesville’s 11 goals Aug. 29, and junior Lauren Gutzwiller added a pair, as the Bulldogs dominated EIAC foe Greensburg on the road (11-0). It was 10-0 by halftime.
BHS needed just 18 seconds to get on the board; sophomore Olivia Knueven crossed to Gutzwiller for a shot past the Pirates’ defense. Liz Heidlage assisted Werner on the next two scores. Senior Abbey Prickel netted the 4th goal on an unassisted effort, dribbling 30 yards and firing a 25-yarder. Not even 8 minutes had elapsed before the guests had a 5-0 lead as Werner laid a ball to the 18-yard box and Cassidy struck it off the crossbar and in.
Heidlage then scored as junior Catherine Raab was credited with the assist. Werner scored the next two on brilliant finishes, first ripping a Knueven pass into the net and then hooking up again with Heidlage. Freshman Betsy Reidy added the 9th goal off an assist by Raab. The 10th goal of the half was scored by Raab, assisted by freshman Allie Savage.
In the second half, Gutzwiller netted her 2nd goal off a Prickel assist.
Batesville participated in the Plainfield Invitational Saturday. The morning pairings had BHS facing Indianapolis Bishop Chatard.
Like the SD matchup, both teams went into intermission with a clean slate, tied at zero.
In the second half, Batesville took the lead with 35:24 left. Heidlage took the ball to the left-side endline and dropped it to a streaking Werner, who used the side of her foot to score.
Chatard scored with 27 minutes to play to make it 1-1 through the end of regulation.
In the first of two 7-minute overtime periods, Chatard took a 2-1 lead on a nice shot from distance. Late in the next period, at 3:03, junior Caroline Kellerman played a ball into the back post; the Chatard keeper had trouble handling and Prickel was there to poke in an equalizer.
In the penalty kick shootout, Heidlage buried the first shot and the Trojan kick sailed over. Werner was next and also placed one in; the Chatard answer went wide. Cassidy nailed BHS’ third attempt, Chatard answered and the Bulldogs missed. Needing a goal, the Trojans’ effort hit the crossbar into the arms of Cerniglia.
“Chatard is a regional opponent and this was a regional atmosphere today,” said Laker. “We got some experience in OT and a penalty shootout. I was happy with our girls today as they showed some grit after getting down in overtime. We looked confident in our PK’s.”
Plainfield, after topping Danville 3-0, awaited shortly after.
The Batesville defense held strong for most of the first half. With 9:51 left, though, the Quakers got free in the center of that defense and went up 1-0.
The second half was all Plainfield. Batesville ran out of gas and PHS found the back of the net five more times to win the invitational’s championship game, 6-0.
BHS (3-3, 2-1) will be at Lawrenceburg Tuesday.
With the majority of their varsity roster intact from last year’s title, the East Central Trojans hoped to take advantage of a Batesville squad that faced a scarcity of returning letter winners when this season began.
Only Lleyton Ratcliffe and Adam Scott returned to the lineup from the sectional runners-up, and somewhat fittingly, were the source of the Bulldogs’ two victories on Tuesday afternoon.
“Any time you’re playing a very experienced team, it’s definitely in their favor but we gave up a lot of points tonight and a lot of games we shouldn’t have,” said BHS head coach Michael McKinney. “That’s been the story of our season so far. We were in position to win in all three of our losses.”
Batesville won three of the first four completed sets on the night, as the top doubles team of Seth Gausman and Sam Voegele kicked things off 6-1 over Zach Bovard and Josh Hudepohl; Ratcliffe started 6-2 on Brody Taylor at No. 1 singles and Scott bested Logan Huisman 6-3 at No. 2 singles.
The next finished set happened to be the last of a 6-0, 6-0 shutout by EC’s Gavin Daniels over the Dogs’ Grant Story on the third singles court.
“It could have come down to experience,” McKinney acknowledged. “Both our doubles teams and No. 3 singles had not played a varsity match until this year. For East Central in some of those spots, it was the opposite.”
Ratcliffe finished strong (6-0) in the second set to tie the team score at one apiece.
Things progressed slowly on the remaining three courts, thanks to three of the next four sets going into tiebreakers in doubles play and Scott dropping his second set 6-2.
At No. 2 doubles, Ray Krider and his teammate won a first-set tiebreak over the hosts’ Max Giesting and Cael Rahe. The 1 doubles match then slipped into a deciding third set after EC took the tiebreaker.
The Trojans made it 2-1 upon the conclusion of the No. 2 doubles match. A second straight tiebreak followed on the top doubles court, where EC took it 7 points to 5 to clinch the match. Scott won his match to make it a 3-2 final.
In JV action, Batesville won 4-1 to improve to 4-1. Lyle Oesterling and Jackson Tracy won in singles along with the doubles teams of Jaden Smith/Jon Hoff and Chase Schwegman/Jackson Wanstrath.
“They’re a good team and someone we have to beat to win the sectional,” said McKinney. “I know we can, but we have to want it more.
“I told the guys we’re a work in progress,” he added. “You want to win each match, but the main goal is to come through in the postseason.”
The Bulldog coach sees the EIAC race going down to the wire.
“There are a lot of different matchups for different teams, so I could see it being a tie this year,” he said.
The boys defeated South Dearborn Aug. 29, 5-0. A 4-1 loss at Centerville followed Friday afternoon.
Ratcliffe, Scott and Story won in singles against SD. The doubles teams of Voegele and Gausman and Giesting and Rahe also won. Hoff won in JV action.
Scott picked up a straight-set win at No. 2 singles in Friday’s matchup between Bulldogs. Ratcliffe and the 1 doubles team of Voegele and Gausman lost in close, three-set matches.
The Bulldogs (2-3, 2-1) entertained Lawrenceburg Thursday (results not available at press time) and travel to Franklin County Tuesday.