2A No. 4 Brebeuf has made an appearance in the girls soccer regional final each of the past five seasons. The past two years, the games ended in agony for the Braves with their season being cut short. Saturday morning, exhilaration ensued at they advanced to semi-state with a 3-1 win over No. 8 Zionsville.
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” Brebeuf coach Angela Berry-White said. “That final horn was pure excitement and joy for the kids because of how hard they worked and how much they wanted this game.”
Ryanne Brown paced the Brebeuf offense, scoring a goal less than five minutes in and just missing a number of scoring chances later in the half. Brebeuf’s Audrey Heile added a second goal on a corner kick from Alia Martin, and the Braves took a commanding 2-0 lead into halftime.
It was just the second time all season Zionsville had allowed two goals or more in a game. Meanwhile, Brebeuf was 18-0 when scoring at least two goals.
But Zionsville increased its intensity to start the second half, getting to within one as Erin Patterson found Amelia Wampler for a goal with 30 minutes to play.
“We pushed more people up top and got that goal early,” Zionsville coach Ramon Aguillon said. “I thought we were going to get another one, but after that Brebeuf adjusted well and we slowed down.”
Zionsville had a number of other scoring chances early in the half, but could not convert.
“As soon as they got their goal, they started to pick up momentum,” Brown said. “We didn’t want them to do that. It was very important that we kept going and make them get their heads down.”
Brown found the back of the net from beyond the 18 to give the Braves a two-goal edge with nine minutes to play, and Zionsville could not recover.
“We wanted to make sure we closed out, but she took one touch and hit it right on the nose and it was a great goal,” Aguillon said. “That really took the wind out of our sails.”
The loss marked the end of a remarkable late-season run for the Eagles, who downed a pair of Top-10 opponents in the tournament.
“As a coach you always want your teams to be better than expected,” Aguillon said. “I think that’s what this group did. They should be extremely proud. For them to beat Guerin, Carmel and Avon three games in a row, there’s not a lot of teams that can say that.”
Brebeuf advanced to the semi-state round next Saturday at Evansville Harrison and will face the winner of No. 13 Center Grove versus Mt. Vernon, a matchup scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m.
“At this stage, it’s always going to be tough,” Berry-White said. “You can’t take anybody for granted. We’ll work hard like we have all year. Sometimes the best team we face is when we go up against each other in practice.”