Brebeuf Jesuit has lost three games combined in the past two seasons. But the team faces what might be its toughest opponent yet on the biggest stage Saturday afternoon. The Class 2A No. 4 Braves will face No. 2 Penn at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium and will be vying for the first state title in program history.
Brebeuf (21-2-1) hasn’t lost since Sept. 21 versus Zionsville. Since then, the Braves have won 12 straight while outscoring opponents 74-4.
“I look at how we are able to get better with every single game, what we can learn from it,” said second-year Brebeuf coach Angela Berry-White. “In those losses, we learn a lot about ourselves as a team and what we need to work on.”
Penn (20-0-2) has outscored opponents 120-4. Kristina Lynch has a team-high 26 goals, including seven in the tournament.
“Kristina is a great player, and she has really nice players around her,” Berry-White said. “We have to make sure we keep her in check. We know we need to mark her and be mindful of what she can do. We’ll make sure we don’t give her the opportunities she’s had.”
Brebeuf has had success scoring this season, but will have to find a way to get the ball past Penn keeper Mackenzie Wood, who has 79 saves and 19 shutouts this year.
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Senior Shaili Kumar leads the Braves with 28 goals, while Ryanne Brown has 26.
Alia Martin leads the team with 27 assists while Brown has 26.
“Here’s two very dominant offensive-minded teams, but also well balanced,” Berry-White said. “We have a lot of weapons, and people want to share.”
Last year’s team, which won 22 games before losing in the regional final, had 11 seniors. This year, Kumar and Rebecca Fogel are the only seniors.
“They want to finish out the year and the final game,” Berry-White said. “To be able to do that is something that will be so memorable for them. Our underclassmen want to make sure our seniors go out on top and in style.”
Kumar said it “felt like a dream” advancing to state.
“Everyone woke up Sunday morning and it hit them that we would be playing in the state finals,” she said.
Now she wants to win it all.
“It would be the most incredible thing,” Kumar said. “We’ve worked so hard over the summer and all season. It’s something we definitely deserve.”
Brebeuf and Penn will begin at 3:30 p.m.
IF YOU GO:
What: IHSAA girls soccer state championship
Where: IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium
When: Class 2A: Brebeuf Jesuit vs. Penn, 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Admission: $10 per person