By GREG MENGELT
FLOYDS KNOBS —
Floyd Central avenged a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to New Albany in last year’s sectional championship with a 6-0 Hoosier Hills Conference victory over the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
After losing several key components to last year’s team, it wasn’t the same New Albany team, but the HIghlanders wanted the victory badly nonetheless.
“We wanted to play our best game that we could,” Floyd Central senior goalkeeper Jessica Coryell said. “Obviously after last season, we wanted to play our best game against them — and I think we did. I think we came in with our best game.”
“I wouldn’t say it was revenge, but we definitely pointed toward this game last year after New Albany beat us in sectional,” Floyd Central coach Lewie Stevens said. “And they’re always a rival. We always take it very seriously, but each year is a different team, as well.”
After having to replace Tanner Marcum, Phoebe Bauer and goalkeeper Kaelin Blessinger after the trio graduated in the spring — and the loss of coach Julie Deuser to Hanover College — the Bulldogs have had to fight through some inexperience in 2013.
“We replaced five really good players with three girls from [junior varsity] from last year and two girls who had never played soccer, and a goalie who had never played goalie in varsity action,” Quakenbush said. “That has a lot to do with it.”
The Highlanders came out and asserted their dominance early when Lauren Wyatt scored her first of four goals in the opening minute of the match.
“We wanted to come out early for our own confidence’s sake,” Coryell said. “We wanted to show that we are the team that we hoped we were.”
“We tend to come out flat at the beginning of games,” Quakenbush said.
After the fast start, New Albany had a few chances to equalize or even take the lead, but Floyd keeper Jessica Coryell was on the top of her game.
“[The fast start] was real important, but I thought we let down,” Stevens said. “We got that first goal so quick, I thought our girls lost their intensity. That plagued us throughout the first half. We don’t want that to be a characteristic of our season.”
Wyatt then made is 2-0 on a penalty kick in the 24th minute.
After Presley Roos scored with three minutes left in the first half, Wyatt capped off a 4-0 opening half with another goal on an assist from Roos in the closing seconds.
“Jessica did a great job or it’s 2-2 or they’re up 3-2 on us at the half,” Stevens praised. “New Albany had maybe outplayed us and were down at the half.
Wyatt added her fourth goal to make it 5-0 with 29 minutes left to play. Senior Madison Oliver then capped the Highlander scoring with a shot at the top of the box in the 68th minute.
Coryell finished with five saves and, more importantly, a shutout over her rivals.
“To me, it feels good,” Coryell said. “It means I’ve done my job personally and I did what I could do to help my team.”
“At the end of the game, we were really happy to look up there and see that shutout,” Steven said. “That’s a confidence boost.”
After wins over Providence and New Albany, the Highlanders are likely the sectional favorites heading as the tournament season nears.
“He just does a good. That’s the bottom line,” Quakenbush said of Stevens. “He does a good job having his girls know what to do. At the end of the day, his team did it better than we did it.”
The Highlanders host Evansville North on Saturday in their next outing in the midst of a four-game homestand. New Albany goes to Columbus East on the same day.
FLOYD CENTRAL 6, NEW ALBANY 0
New Albany 0 0—0
Floyd Central 4 2—6
F — Lauren Wyatt (unassisted), 1st min.
F — Wyatt (penalty kick), 24th.
F — Presley Roos (unassisted), 38th.
F — Wyatt (Roos), 40th.
F — Wyatt (penalty kick), 51st.
F — Madison Oliver (unassisted), 68th.