CARMEL – Ramon Aguillon had been stressing the importance of finishing your chances in close games to his Lady Eagles soccer team the past few weeks.
That came to the forefront in Thursday’s sectional semifinal against top-ranked Carmel.
After the Eagles couldn’t finish off two quality chances in the opening minutes, the Greyhounds were able to capitalize on theirs, and ultimately topped Zionsville 3-0.
“It’s tough, especially when you look at how well we played the first 15-20 minutes,” Aguillon said. “We had one ball just sitting there off a a corner kick, and Lizzie (Chlystun’s) shot gets tipped over the bar. It’s those little things that make the difference. We gave up a goal we wish we could have back, and that kind of changed the momentum of the game.”
The Eagles nearly took the lead two minutes in, but Erin Baker made a great save on Chlystun’s shot to keep the Eagles off the board.
A few minutes later, the Eagles had a chance off a scrum on a corner kick, but a Carmel defender was able to clear the ball away as it was rolling toward the goal.
Just five minutes later, Carmel was able to score against the run of play.
Kelsie James’ free kick was kicked right at Zionsville keeper Adelyn Busald, but took a tricky hop and got past the Eagle goalie to make it 1-0 with 24:15 left.
Fifteen minutes later, Brooke Bailey was able to get to a through ball just ahead of Busald and slipped it into the goal to make it 2-0 heading to the half.
“It was tough from a team perspective, because we were playing so well, and then you give up a soft goal,” Aguillon said. “It is tough to react to that emotionally, and we lost a little of our energy and Carmel got the second goal. We played pretty well, and when you look at the second half, we fought hard. The players played to the best of their abilities, and that is all you can ask for.”
The Eagles possessed the ball better in the second half, keeping the pressure on the Greyhounds’ side of the field for long periods of time, but struggled to get good chances on goal.
Aguillon gave a lot of credit to the Carmel defense, which has only allowed six goals in 17 games.
“They are physical, and their backs are strong and fast,” Aguillon said. “If they get beat, they cover for each other and get to the ball quickly. Their keeper is really solid, and is a confident player. Their backline makes it difficult for any team to score. We created some good chances, we pressed them well, but it was just the little things and team’s that good punish you.”
Carmel added a third goal late to put the game away.
Zionsville finishes the season 10-8, and will return large portions of their team.
“We return the entire backline, a lot of the midfield and with the exception of Lizzie, we return all our front line,” Aguillon said. “We are really excited for the future, and we hope we can get a couple new girls to step up for the seniors. The future is bright and I can see good things happening in the future for us.”