Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The Terre Haute South girls' soccer team is hungry for its first sectional title since the 2006 season and Thursday night they took the next step at the expense of Northview, winning 4-0. South won its first round match against Vincennes Lincoln on Tuesday evening.
From the opening whistle, it was apparent that the Knights were going to have trouble keeping Braves' junior Courtney Hubbard contained.
She showed off her speed to the corners and ran down several long passes for early scoring chances. Just four minutes into the game, Hubbard chased down one of those long feeds, but her scoring chance was smothered by the Knights' keeper, Melissa Lummis.
Northview freshman Mannah Mace, who has seen time at keeper herself, helped save the potential first score of the game when she cleared a deflection off a Brave's corner kick moments later.
However, the Braves onslaught would continue and it was Abby Pigg that would re-direct a corner kick from Makenzie Mauriello with 25 minutes remaining in the first half.
"I think the intensity was there, I think they were looking for the right options," Northview coach Lauren Trennel said. "There were times we weren't pushing up as a unit, which allowed (South) to dribble up through the middle third (of the field). They were able to find opportunities in their attacking third. We've been injury ridden this season. We haven't had a whole healthy team since probably the third week of practices. That's something we've been dealing with all season. So that's something we've had to overcome. Overall, I'm proud of the effort. It's just unfortunate that the result was what it was."
The Knights' back line that included Libby Deckard, Mace, Sydney Buell and Tara Summers, kept the Braves at bay until eight minutes remained before the half when Hubbard fired home a shot that caromed off the far post and bounced back into the net for a 2-0 lead at halftime.
The Knights have had plenty of underclassmen in the fray all season and they performed well in a trial by fire this season.
Deckard, a sophomore, started the second half by chasing down a ball on a long run and crossing to the middle, but her pass was turned around by the Braves.
The match remained at 2-0 until the mid-point of the second half when the Braves were awarded a penalty kick after a player went down in the box. Mauriello would take the PK and scored for a 3-0 lead.
Northview's Krista Stearley made a nice run in the game's final 11 minutes, but her chance was knocked away as several Braves' players converged on her.
South deposited the final goal of the match with 3:41 remaining as Hubbard broke free of the Knights' defense to score.
Despite the loss, Trennel was optimistic with her team's youth and its future.
"A lot of the freshmen came in with great intensity and with good previous intensity and really stepped up into a role that they weren't expecting," Trennel said. "They've played well for us this season," Trennel said. "We were pleased with the returners this season, who really took to heart what we went through last season and applied it this year. The girls that came in that are new to the program, they've really listened and worked on what we've been doing. It's been a pleasure working with all of them so we're looking forward to what we can do next year."
The Knights finish the season at 7-7-2 overall and placed second in the WIC with a 3-1-2 record.