October 27th, 2011
Gabriel, Wistrom Lead SHA To State Semis
Valkyries trip up Male 6-1 to make return trip to final four
After bowing out in the first round of the state tournament last season, the Sacred Heart Academy soccer team is back in the tourney final four after defeating the Male Bulldogs 6-1 Thursday at Male High School.
With multiple-goal games from both junior Eleanor Gabriel and sophomore Caroline Wistrom, the Valkries clinched their spot in the state semifinals next week at Paul Dunbar High School with its12th victory of the year.
A relatively quiet beginning of the game was highlighted by offensive dominance by Sacred Heart. Shots by Wistrom, Gabriel, and Emily Epley, as all threatened early on, but it wasn’t until the midway point of the first half that the Valkries were able to get onto the scoreboard.
With just under 23 minutes left to go in the first half, Gabriel struck first to give Sacred Heart the 1-0 advantage. Just three minutes later, Epley gave the Valkries their second goal as she nailed a long shot from the corner of the 18-yard box.
Male got its scoring opportunity seven minutes later as Sacred Heart sophomore Lauren Brewer was called for a controversial foul, giving Male the free kick from just outside the penalty box. Although the spot of the foul was not in penalty range, the Bulldogs were able to finish their shot and cut the lead to 2-1.
Sacred Heart found a third goal in the first half on a corner kick delivered by senior Mary Kate Schmidt. After her service in the box was cleared back out to her, she found herself all alone and was able to finish her long-distance shot from just inside the corner of the box, in almost the same spot Epley was able to score from just minutes before.
Her goal gave the Valkries the 3-1 lead at the half.
Only 10 minutes into the second half, Wistrom notched her first goal of the game as she nailed an unassisted shot into the back of the net. Minutes later, Eleanor Gabriel dribbled past several defenders and crossed the ball in front of the net, ricocheting of the Male GK, where Wistrom was able to finish, giving her her second goal of the game and putting her team up 5-1.
Less than 10 minutes later, Gabriel finished the scoring, just as she had opened it, by finding the back of the net. After a 40-plus yard dribbling clinic just past midfield, Gabriel beat the Male keeper to give Sacred Heart the 6-1 victory.
“I’m just really proud of the girls,” Sacred Heart head coach Chris Moore said. “One of the big things we’ve been really trying to talk to them about and work with them on is starting to take shots from a deeper distance. We always look to penetrate as deep as we can and sometimes by then it’s too crowded and so I’m really proud of the shots we took. I think we had two that were from the longer distances we’d talked about. Long, beautiful goals we’d discussed because at times we’ve had difficulties scoring and I think we broke through that barrier a little bit today.”
“We really created some good opportunities today and we have to give Male a lot of credit. They played very hard and very well and they’ve done a fantastic job this season.”
Sacred Heart advances to play Bowling Green (18-3-2) on Nov. 3 at 6pm in the semifinals. The winner would play the Notre Dame-West Jessamine winner on Nov. 5 for the 2011 state championship.