October 24th, 2017

SHA soccer advances to state quarterfinals

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

SHA soccer advances to state quarterfinals
Sacred Heart's Ashley Durik looks to make a play on the ball / photo by Conor Revell

Sacred Heart’s soccer team advanced to the Elite Eight for a fifth straight year with a 4-0 victory over Fifth Region champion Bardstown Bethlehem Tuesday night.

“I thought we did a better job of playing in the first half in terms of winning the balls out in the air, I think we got a little complacent in the second half,” Sacred Heart head coach Jaclyn Puntillo said. “We started letting Abigail Proctor drop a little deeper in the field and then she became very dangerous. We knew that was going to happen.

“I made some important subs putting Allie George in there and made it her mission to not let Proctor win any more balls and I don’t think she did. Allie is only a freshman and for her to take that assignment and be so successful with it is impressive.”

Ashley Durik scored a goal and dished out an assist while Cassie Amshoff, Kiley Polk, and Lexie Wagner scored goals and Caraline Franke recorded an assist.

It was the second time these two teams have met this season, Sacred Heart (21-2) won by the same score in their final regular season game 20 days ago.

“I think our game plan was to try and win balls out of the air,” Polk said. “We wanted to possess like we normally do. That’s usually our game plan in those games. We also wanted to mark Proctor up and I thought we did a great job of that.”

The Valkyries have now won 17 straight games; their last loss was to Brebeuf Jesuit (Ind.) on Sep. 2 during Labor Day weekend.

Wagner, aput the Valkyries up 1-0 just when she scored off a Durik assist with 34:56 to go in the first half.

“I thought we did a great job of possessing on that play,” Wagner said. “Ashley Durik did a great job of getting the ball down the field. That’s something we talk about while watching film. She crossed it at the end line and I got behind it.”

That’s the third straight game a defender has scored a goal for Sacred Heart.

“I can’t tell you what an asset it is to have outside backs that can move forward and play offense,” Puntillo said. “Not just to join the offense but to be productive too. Cam (Barber) had two goals and an assist in the regional tournament.

“Lexie opened up our scoring today. It’s so important to get that first goal. For Lexie to make that excellent run out of the back as a defender and put away the cross Ashley made was important for us.”

Polk received a pass from Franke and connected from 15 yards out to make it 2-0 with 26:22 remaining.

“Someone got to the end line and made a pass to Franke,” Polk said. “She touched it off to me and I kicked it and put it in the back of the net.”

Amshoff then iced the game when she blasted a shot from 25 yards out and the ball went flying Bethlehem goalkeeper Abby Elder head and into the net with 1:33 to go before the half.

Durik finalized the scoring when she scored her goal with 24:54 to go.

“I won the ball out of the middle,” Durik said. “Nobody really challenged me and the goalie was off her line, so I just took a shot and it went over her head.”

The Valkyries fired 15 shots at Elder who made five saves.

Bethlehem (15-6-1) took seven shots and Sacred Heart goalkeeper Eliza Kelly saved one shot.

Sacred Heart advances to the state quarterfinals and plays Simon Kenton, a team they haven’t faced in over two years. The Lady Pioneers crushed North Bullitt 8-0 in the Semi-State Four game.

“I know Simon Kenton has an excellent goalkeeper,” Puntillo said. “We have to make sure we do an excellent job of challenging her. I have seen them play. They have pulled her out of the goal and takes a lot of their free kicks and scores goals for them. We have to make that a non-factor as a part of the game plan at this point.”

Game time and location will be announced Wednesday.

“We haven’t played them since my freshman year,” Durik said. “I don’t know much about them yet. They have played some good teams and had to beat the Oldham County teams to win their region. They will be a good team to face.” 


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