ZIONSVILLE – It was nearly a senior night to remember for the 12th-ranked Zionsville girls soccer team.
Hosting top-ranked and unbeaten Hamilton Southeastern, the Eagles battled toe-to-toe with the Royals, but the breaks didn’t fall their way in a 3-2 loss.
“Obviously our girls are disappointed that the result wasn’t there, but we are looking at the bigger picture,” Zionsville head coach Ramon Aguillon said. “We knew after Monday (a 4-0 loss to Brebeuf), that wasn’t who we were as a team. For us to come out and play like this today, it was exactly what we wanted to do. The effort was there, we created chances, and it was just little things.”
There were big, emotional momentum swings throughout the second half.
Zionsville took a 2-1 lead with 32 minutes to go on a free kick from senior Lizzie Chlystun from about 25 yards out.
Eight minutes later, the Royals tied the game at 2, and took the lead four minutes later after a mad scramble in the box.
Goalkeeper Adelyn Busald had her hands on the ball at one point, but it was jostled free in the scrum and HSE capitalized.
The Eagles thought they had the tying goal two minutes later, when another free kick went over the keeper’s head and near the goal line, but the referee ruled that the Royals’ Isabella Bankovich cleared the ball before it fully crossed the line.
Zionsville continued to press forward, but the Royals’ goalkeeper made three good saves on crosses, and the Eagles were unable to convert on three corner kicks in the last minute of the game.
“The girls responded great every time HSE came at us,” Aguillon said. “We gave up a goal five minutes in, and could have crumbled, but we didn’t. That’s the positive thing about it. We came back, tied it, then fell down 3-2 and we kept going. We were pushing for that tying goal, and hopefully those breaks eventually go our way.”
Katie Chadwick had the Eagles’ goal in the first half to make things tied 1-1 heading into halftime.
Zionsville was the first team all season to score two goals against the Royals.
Prior to the game, Zionsville honored their six seniors – Lizzie Chlystun, Michelle Lodics, Madelyn Chadwick, Makenzie Echeverria, Ella DeVecchio and Calen Hammerle.
“Each senior class brings their own uniqueness,” Aguillon said. “This group isn’t measured by stats, goals, assists or minutes. They have great leadership roles, they understand their roles on the team and play it to the best of their ability. That’s what is going to help us moving forward. This team has great cohesiveness and that is because of the seniors and how they led the group.”
Zionsville continues their tough stretch on Saturday against Carmel.
The game will be played on the Eagles’ football field. Aguillon said the tough week was put together on purpose to test his team.
“This is probably the toughest week anyone in the state has all year,” Aguillon said. “No. 1 in 2A, No. 1 in 3A and No. 2 in 3A on Saturday. We wanted to put our girls through this, so when we get to the sectional, the girls are ready for anything and know the intensity level back-to-back. We are happy with the way we played, just not happy with the result.”