October 20th, 2018

Valkyries win sixth straight regional title

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Conor Revell

Managing Editor

Valkyries win sixth straight regional title
The Valkyries with the Seventh Region championship trophy / photo by Conor Revell

New coach, same result, Sacred Hearst’s soccer team is still dominating the Seventh Region as the dynasty continues.

The Valkyries whipped longtime arch-rival Assumption 3–0 to win their sixth straight Seventh Region championship Saturday afternoon at historic Manual Stadium.

“These kids, not to be cliche, but they have the heart, and they just went to business,” Sacred Heart first-year head coach Libby Smith said. “They were prepared and knew they had it together and that they could do it. They just went out there and did what they needed to do. It says a lot about the kids, once they step out onto the field, it’s not up to me anymore.”

Sacred Heart (21-1-1) has won 12 of the last 13 Seventh Region title and has ended their rival season 11 times in the last 13 season.

“This is awesome for us,” Sacred Heart senior Addy Lancaster said. “We were really excited for this game, but we emphasized that there was no need for us to be stressed or concerned. We just needed to play as hard we can and treat it like a normal game.”

Ironically, the last time a soccer regional tournament was held at the historic venue, the Rockets (16-6-4) ended the Valkyries run of winning six straight regional titles.

“We had a great season,” Assumption head coach Tammy Hailey said. “We won the Lexington Catholic Tournament, we won the Bracket of Dimes Bracket in Zionsville (Ind.), we had a great game in districts against Male. Dominated Christian Academy the other night. It has been a successful season and my seniors left it all-out on the field every time they stepped out and I’m going to miss them dearly.”

Lancaster had herself a day and led Sacred Heart with two goals.

Meg Williams chipped in the third goal and Caraline Francke dished out two assists.

“Caraline has a good kick on the ball that she can put in there when needed,” Smith said. “Addy is just not afraid to do whatever it take to get the ball in the back of the net. We have been working on those set pieces a lot lately.”

The Valkyries made it 1-0 when Francke booted a corner kick from the right-side of the field and Lancaster tapped it into the left side of the goal less than six minutes into the game.

“We have been practicing corners the whole entire week,” Lancaster said. “I usually stand on the back-post and wait for a header. This time the ball didn’t come to my head, it was at my feet, and I saw the ball coming across and used my right foot to tap it into the goal.”

Williams scores off of a rebound to put Assumption in a 2-0 hole with 27:50 left in the opening half.

“My teammate Brielle (Heughlin) made a great ball to me,” Williams said. “It was a rebound. I took a shot and it deflected off of their keeper and I followed it in. I was determined to get the ball in the net and my teammate Regan (Nolan) was right there incase I needed herp.”

Francke served another corner kick to Lancaster who headed it into to give Sacred Heart a 3-0 lead with 16:14 remaining before halftime.

“We have been working on those a lot in practice,” Francke said. “Addy is really explosive when she’s in the air. I’ve been taking corners all-season. We decided for me to continue to take them and then have Addy on the back-side and get her like that. It worked out in our favor.”

The Valkyries kept Assumption goalkeeper Madison Peyton (three saves) busy and peppered her with 10 shots.

“We unfortunately had several defensive breakdowns,” Hailey said. “We didn’t follow our man on the corners and they got through. The set pieces is what got us. When you play a good team you have to keep your marks for sure.”

Eliza Kelly stood in the goal for Sacred Heart and saved three of the Rockets four shots.

“I’ve been playing a lot of offense this season,” Lancaster said. “We recently changed our formation and switched it to five in the back. We just have to stay organized on defense and stay one step ahead and make sure everyone is covered and that we support each other.”

Corner kicks proved to be a premium and the Valkyries earned six, scoring goals on two, Assumption only had one.

Sacred Heart advances to the state tournament and will host Simon Kenton in the Semi-State 4 game at 7 p.m. Monday.

“We need to just keep playing our game,” Williams said. “We need to play as a team and keep going as much as we can. We don’t want the road to end here.”

The Pioneers were the only team to beat the Valkyries in the regular season.


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