Northview girl’s soccer prepping for Dragons
By CAREY FOX
Times Sports Editor
Northview is sailing into uncharted territory in the soccer postseason with Saturday’s Class 2A Jasper Regional.
The Northview girls captured the school’s first soccer sectional championship last weekend by topping West Vigo, Class 2A 18th-ranked Sullivan and then Edgewood in the championship contest. This weekend, the Knights have a date with Silver Creek (16-1-2) in the regional opening round at noon.
While there hasn’t been a lot of time to soak in the accomplishment of winning a sectional, the Knights have designs on a bigger prize this weekend according to head coach Don Bryan.
“While they have enjoyed the first ever sectional title win they seemed more focused, more in tune with taking advantage of the opportunity they have put them self in,” Bryan noted.
Last year’s team won just two matches during a season that was understandably more about building for the future with a roster that included a combined 18 freshmen and sophomores. However, that large contingent has taken those lessons and turned them into a record-breaking 16-win campaign in 2017.
“The last two years have been a struggle to find wins,” Bryan admitted. “Yet the attitude has been so positive to each other and to see the positives that probably has been the most satisfactory part of it. The continued hard work of the returning teammates, has finally started to really become part of the freshmens’ work ethic. I have been so proud of the way they have kept this season in focus and the wins are just icing on the cake.”
Saturday’s opponent, Silver Creek, understands the difficult road to winning a sectional, having won just one other time, back in 2015.
Northview boasts a youthful squad that has broken program records for individual and team scoring this season with an average of 4.8 goals per game during a 16-3 campaign to this point. However, Silver Creek counters with an offensive side that has rang up 5.5 goals per match thus far.
The top shooters from Silver Creek have lit up the scoreboard this season led by senior Maggie Day, who has 32 goals and seven assists. Junior Alyssa Wright has scored 20 times and has added 16 assists this season and senior Ciera May has added 16 goals to go with nine assists for the Dragons. Freshman Anna Wright added 10 goals and five assists.
In the Dragons, Bryan sees a team that he hopes the Knights might emulate as they gain experience.
“The video we have seen shows a team with chemistry, a purpose and a very older version of where we as a team want to be headed,” Bryan said. “That group has an ability to make it all look so effortless. We will have to be at our best to challenge them.”
Northview’s top-four leading goal scorers are either a freshman or a sophomore. Freshman Kassidy Kellett leads the team with 28 goals and classmate Grace Nicosin is second with 14 scores. Sophomore Sarah Bryan has scored 13 times in 2017 followed by freshman Maggie Lackey’s 12. Junior Skyler Reitsma has put 10 goals in the back of the net for the Knights. Northview’s passing ability has been a key to a record season as the five different players have at least 10 assists. Both Bryan and Kassidy Kellett have 25 apiece followed by 10 helpers from each of Lackey, Amaya Jones and Nicosin.
Silver Creek’s defense has also been top notch, having allowed just 10 goals to opponents all season.
Silver Creek senior goal keeper Kaylee Sumner has had an excellent season in front of a strong defense. Sumner has a goals against average of just 0.57 this season having allowed just nine goals in 19 matches. In fact, Silver Creek started the season by shutting out six of its first seven matches and has 11 overall this season. Northview sophomore keeper Sydney Brock has eight shut outs this season and has a goals against average of 1.43 this season.
Northview’s defense lost junior Karlie Kellett to a knee injury several games ago, but has performed admirably in the postseason.
Bryan has posted 40 steals with Lackey adding 35, Kassidy Kellett has 29 followed by Jones with 27, Jolee Kellett has 23, Jaycee Kellett has 18 and both Mercedes Hoke and Kamryn Zadeii have 15.
Bryan believes that the Knights will have to stick to their game plan in order to have success against the Dragons’ defense on Saturday afternoon.
“I really think we have to prod and poke the defense. We need to make the most of any chance we get with good movement, unselfish play, and taking the best shots we can” Bryan said. “I think we have shown that we can spread the wealth, we will just have to succeed.”
The opening round of the Jasper Regional is between Evansville Memorial (15-4) and the host Wildcats (13-5-1) at 10 a.m. Northview and Silver Creek will follow at approximately 12 p.m.