When South Vermillion and Northview square off in girls soccer, you can bet that the game will be physical and evenly matched. Thursday's game at Northview High School was no exception.
The two teams played 89 minutes and more than 59 seconds out of a regulation 90 minute contest locked in a scoreless and, for the fans, breathless, battle until South Vermillion's Heather Peebles broke free on a pass from Angie Jenkins and found the Northview net as the final buzzer sounded. The resulting 1-0 South Vermillion win left Knight's fans stunned and Wildcats' players dancing onto the field.
"Offensively I have no complaints," commented an obviously emotionally spent Don Bryan, coach of the Knights. "I feel like we outplayed and outhustled them but we were just unlucky."
Both teams had their share of luck, both bad and good in the game.
After the scoreless first half, the Knights had several narrow misses on chances to get on the board.
Erin Whitmore shot high on a shot after a long volley to the box by Northview was deflected directly back to her by a Wildcat defender. Shortly after that, Ashley Woodcox was given a shot at a penalty kick when Whitmore was tripped up in the South Vermillion box 15 minutes into the half.
Woodcox fired to the left side of the net but the South Vermillion keeper found the handle to keep the game scoreless. On the ensuing goal kick the Wildcat keeper stepped out of the box and was called for a hand ball which gave Northview a free kick.
Whitmore's shot off the South Vermillion wall deflected out to Woodcox who missed a shot wide.
At the 19:15 mark Whitmore again beat the defense and was awarded a direct kick again. Her shot was just over the Wildcat wall and was deflected just over the crossbar by the keeper.
"Our passes were there tonight," said Bryan. "That's what it takes, we just have to finish them. We've got to get those finishes. . . We could've been up 6-0 instead of losing 1-0."
On the other end of the field, Northview goal keeper Bethany Fagg was doing her own stellar job of keeping the Knights even in the match. She was able to deflect a rocket of a shot just over the crossbar with just over 18 minutes left in the scoreless tie.
On a South Vermillion free kick with four minutes remaining, Sarah Guinn's free kick over the Northview wall was saved by Fagg.
However as time was running low, South Vermillion took possession along the far sideline and was able to cross the ball to the middle where Peebles found herself open to score the final goal as the buzzer sounded.
For the Knights, one of their best played games of the season once again came against South Vermillion who is rapidly becoming their biggest rival. Solid play up front led to 20 shots by Northview, including five apiece from Whitmore and Ahnya Alstott and four by Woodcox.
Defensively the Knights got three steals apiece from Kelsey Scroggins, Cassie Webb, Marsha Krisenko, Alstott, Lexee Hayes, Woodcox and Heather Foxx.
The loss drops the Knights to 2-2 in the Western Indiana Conference while the Wildcats advance to 5-0.