Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- Coaches in any sport talk about playing your best at the end of the season and not peaking too early. As girls' soccer sectional play got underway at Terre Haute South on Monday night, both Northview and West Vigo coaches had to be pleased with the results.
The Knights came away with a 4-0 victory against the Vikings, but both squads played at a high level, including West Vigo, which got a great night in goal from their keeper, Sarah Ross to keep the game close. An earlier season match-up between the teams resulted in an 11-0 Northview victory.
Northview coach Ahnya Alstott was pleased with how her team played following a difficult week.
"I was a little nervous about our girls coming out today, Halie (Hite's) death last week really hit them hard and when we started the game we said we were going to play for Halie," Alstott said. "That's what they wanted to do and they came our here and won."
Northview's front line of Bell, Breanna Fagg, Jessie Moore and Lauren Webster kept the heat on with a number of early shots. The ball stayed in West Vigo's half of the field for nearly the entire opening 40 minutes of play.
Alstott credited her team's passing for creating a wealth of early opportunities.
"We had some great combination plays with Lauren Webster and Carlee Bell. Jackie Moore did a tremendous job at sweeper as she always does," Alstott said. "We have been pounding them with information at using the width of the field and crossing back in and tonight we saw it finally materialize. A lot of the drills we did focused on passing on the offensive side and they followed through with it. I was really proud of them."
Bell's goal came with 15:05 left in the first half, but the Knights had several other quality chances in the half too.
Jessie Moore fired a shot wide with 13 minutes gone in the half and Fagg also had a close call as she narrowly missed stopping a pass on the endline a few feet from the Vikings net minutes later. Jennifer Junker also found Bell open 10 feet from the net, but her shot from point blank range was stopped by a tremendous save by Ross in goal.
Northview's keeper, Shalee Hathaway, had a pretty peaceful night overall and the game was even more special as Northview senior, Bethany Wright got her first action of the year after returning from a knee injury.
"Our goalie got to touch the ball once in the game I think," Alstott said. "It was Bethany's (Wright) first game back this season so she was really excited. She wasn't able to play the whole thing, but she was excited about playing the 10 minutes she could and she did a great job. All of our girls did great."
In the second half, Northview was able to keep up the pressure and broke the game open on a goal at the 26:46 mark as Webster scored off a loose ball in front of the net.
Less than a minute later, Krista Stearley's shot was just side of the target, but Junker followed at the 23:25 mark as Lindsay Woodcox' pass slipped through West Vigo's defense and to Junker who capitalized with the third goal of the game.
Bell added the final tally of the game after her breakaway shot was saved and she diligently stayed with it as the ball got free and the senior found the net for the 4-0 victory.
"We did a great job maintaining possession and we didn't get sucked into the kick ball game and we didn't bunch up too much," Alstott said. "We got everybody in and even the second group of players, when they went in, did a great job just as well as the first group that started the game.
Raven Enders played a defensive position, but she was key in moving the ball and coming forward and not being shy or hesitant as a defensive player," Alstott added.
The Knights will face Sullivan, an 8-0 winner over North Knox, in a Thursday contest at 5 p.m. at Terre Haute South High School.
Terre Haute South Sectional
NV -- Carlee Bell, 15:05
NV -- Lauren Webster, 26:46
NV -- Jennifer Junker (Lindsay Woodcox), 23:25
NV -- Bell, 16:41
Next match: Northview faces Sullivan Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Terre Haute South Sectional.