August 29th, 2010

Sacred Heart Tops Assumption 4-0

Michael Shaw Mahoney

CSN Staff Writer

Sacred Heart Tops Assumption 4-0
photo by Bryan Lawson

Rockets "own goal" leads to Valkyrie shutout

A single mistake can change a soccer match. 


An own goal late in the first half of yesterday's grudge match between Louisville's two Catholic powerhouses, Sacred Heart and Assumption, was the breach that allowed the flood waters to run. When a group of Assumption defenders leaped to head out a powerful cross, they made contact. But the ball flew in the wrong direction. It careened off the keeper's outstretched hand and into their goal.


Own goals are a cruel reality of the game and never easy to digest. When the Assumption girls dove for much needed water and shade at halftime, the damage control began in earnest. There were the inevitable pleas to get over it, to focus on all the positives, to keep pressing forward. They certainly had plenty of reason to remain confident.


In the first half, Assumption disrupted their rivals all over the field, tackling with authority, breaking up passes in midfield, and refusing to let the Valkyrie wingers turn the outside corner. Assumption's Heather Schmidt was a force to be reckoned with and made the talented Lucy Chauvin, Sacred Heart's leading scorer last year, work hard to create space. Though an imperious figure at all times, Chauvin was visibly tired after several one-on-one battles.


Andrea Distler, who missed a good chunk of last season to an ACL injury, showed full mobility in Sacred Heart's midfield despite wearing a large protective knee brace. She unleashed a powerful shot from the top of the box in the 16th minute, which the Assumption keeper somehow managed to handle with assurance.


On a counterattack in the 30th minute, Assumption's Morgan Riggs, who led her team in assists last season, sprinted forward on the break and only the deft scrambling of Maddie Peabody, Sacred Heart's experienced goalkeeper, kept the Rockets from breaking the 0-0 deadlock. The own goal was all that separated the two teams at halftime.  The girls were locked in a very even match as they prepared for another forty minutes on the blazing turf. 


Assumption began to show some signs of fatigue in the second half.  As a result, Lucy Chauvin was finding more room to operate at the edge of the box. Then she struck.


In the 55th minute, she collected the ball at her feet, made a neat cutback that left the defender for dead, and let loose a shot from her lethal right boot. The new Assumption keeper, Katy Jones, stretched right and got a hand on the ball, but it rolled teasingly toward the corner and just slipped inside the post to make the score 2-0. It proved to be the key goal of the match.


A few minutes later Caroline Wistrom, a Sacred Heart freshman, took a long range shot that just dipped beneath the crossbar for the Valkyries' third goal. Assumption, however, refused to fold and team leaders Logan Higgins, Kate Browne, and substitute Brandy Orthbecker continued to show a lot of fight.


Morgan Riggs, fighting off both the Valkyries and one of those unshakable summer colds, said after the match, her voice almost completely gone, "With all the people on the sidelines cheering it was really exciting, but we just need to connect more passes." Her opponents definitely had more success in that department. 


Sacred Heart sealed the victory with a beautiful combination between Lucy Chauvin and sophomore Eleanor Gabriel. With the kind of unselfish play that can make soccer a thing of wonder, Chauvin could see Gabriel flashing forward in her periphery and slid the ball into her teammate's path. Gabriel one-touched it home like a seasoned pro.


 "I was pushed around the whole game," Gabriel reflected, "so I just really wanted to knock one in the goal." The goal was an exclamation point on a fine evening for the reigning state champions.


The final result: Sacred Heart 4 Assumption 0.



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