ZIONSVILLE – The Zionsville Lady Eagles needed to a boost in the second half Saturday afternoon in their non-conference match-up with McCutcheon.
The 18th-ranked Eagles were struggling to get much going toward goal in the first half against the visiting Mavericks, and found themselves tied 0-0 at the half.
But Zionsville made the adjustments they needed to, got more aggressive and got second half goals from Sadie Graham and Lizzie Chlystun to win 2-0.
“We challenged the group at halftime,” Zionsville head coach Ramon Aguillon said. “The first half was a little flat and we just didn’t play up to our standards. We wanted to be more aggressive and we needed to put our chances away so we could control the game a little better. We did a better job of that in the second half.
It didn’t take long for the Eagles to take control of the second half.
Less than five minutes into the half, Abbey Iler got loose on the right side, and bounced in a cross that found the head of Sadie Graham to make it 1-0.
Just 10 minutes later, Graham was able to play a through ball into Chlystun on the left side, and the senior put away the shot into the far corner to make it 2-0.
That front three has been able to create havoc on opposing back lines through four games this season.
“One of our strengths is our speed on the outside,” Aguillon said. “Abbey does a great job being able to get the ball down the line and cross it in, and you have to give Sadie a lot of credit, with four goals in four games. She is in the right spot a lot, and we have to keep putting her in spots to score goals. With Abbey sending balls in from the right, and Lizzie doing the same thing with her speed on the left, we should be able to score some goals.”
After a shaky opening 20 minutes that allowed a few half chances for McCutcheon, the Eagles were able to clamp down on the defensive end in the second half, only allowing one Maverick shot on net.
Adelyn Busald made five saves, including a nice tip save over the par in the opening minutes to keep the visitors off the board.
“Anytime you get a clean sheet it’s important,” Aguillon said. “In the first half, we were a little tentative and there were a couple of clearances that we missed. We cleaned it up in the second half. Our communication was better, we were winning 50/50 balls and we really didn’t give them any chances. For Adelyn getting her second shutout of the season, it’s a good confidence builder.”
The Eagles are now 2-2 on the season.
Earlier in the week, the Eagles lost 3-1 to 13th-ranked Fishers in a game closer than the score indicates.
It will be a busy week ahead for the Eagles, as they host Westfield on Wednesday before hosting the Zionsville Invite on Friday and Saturday.
Then they travel to North Central on Monday.
One thing the Eagles want to focus on, Aguillon said, is the communication between lines on the field.
When Zionsville has played well, all three lines have been connected and are playing through one another. When they have struggled, it’s when they get stretched and lose that communication.
“Our midfield play is extremely important, just to be able to connect between our backs and forwards,” Aguillon said. “When they are clicking and moving the ball around, that is when we are at our best. We need to continue to work on that. We are looking for that first conference win, and Westfield is going to be tough, so we have to make sure all three lines are playing together.”