NOBLESVILLE – It was an undeserved ending Wednesday night for the 10th ranked Zionsville girls soccer team.
After battling the fourth-ranked Noblesville dead-even for nearly 80 minutes Wednesday night, the Eagles saw the Millers score with 1:02 remaining in the game to snatch a victory away on their home field.
After the game, Zionsville defenders were insistent that goal-scorer Jenna Chatterton was off-sides, but their protests weren’t going to change the outcome.
Head coach Ramon Aguillon said he wanted to stress to his girls the positives from the game, how they battled toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the state.
“The girls were pretty down and upset, which is expected after giving up a late goal like that,” Aguillon said. “But we have to make sure we don’t lose the focus of the ultimate goal – which is to win the sectional and advance in the state tournament. The girls really wanted the chance to win conference, and unfortunately that chance is gone, but we challenged them to turn this into a positive moving forward.”
The goal came as it looked like if either team would score in the final minutes, it would be Zionsville.
The Eagles had upped the pressure in the final five minutes of the game, but Noblesville got possession on the left sideline, and Makenna Maloy crossed in a ball that bounced over the Eagles’ defense and right to Chatterton, who was all alone in the box and finished the shot.
The Zionsville defenders looked toward the linesman hoping to see the flag go up for offsides, but it never did.
Aguillon wouldn’t comment on the potential offsides after the game, noting the Eagles’ bench was on the far side of the field and he would have to look at the tape later.
But while it was a tough outcome to swallow based on how well his team played in a hostile environment, he said it was a good lesson for similar types of games that the Eagles may see in a couple weeks in the sectional.
“In games like this, or in the sectional moving forward, the teams are so evenly matched, that it just takes a little bounce or a moment that we lose focus to make a difference,” Aguillon said. “That can change the game or the season, and you could go home after that in a sectional. That is the lesson we want the girls to take away from this. I loved the effort, we played with them toe-to-toe and they are an excellent team. A tie would have been a fair result, but in soccer, there is no fairness, they scored the goal and won the game.”
While both teams had some quality chances to score, the balance of play was mostly in Zionsville’s defensive half of the field.
The Eagles’ best chances came when they were able to get counter attacks off the Millers’ attacks.
Aguillon said that moving forward, the Eagles will make a couple of adjustments so they aren’t inviting as much pressure from the other team.
“We have to work on a couple of things,” Aguillon said. “We were a little defensive, and when you invite that much pressure, you are more likely to make a mistake. We need to do a better job of keeping possession of the ball and allow us to breathe a little bit and create some chances to score. That’s the biggest lesson, keeping a little better possession in the middle, so we can create more chances.”
It was a quick turnaround for the Eagles, as they hosted Avon on Saturday.
The Eagles won 1-0 on a late goal by Abbey Iler. The team also hosted Brebeuf on Monday and lost 4-0.
Zionsville travels to HSE on Wednesday and hosts Carmel on Saturday.