FLOYDS KNOBS — Saturday’s 5-0 win over Jeffersonville may have seemed easy for Floyd Central’s girls’ soccer team, but over the last year the Highlanders have learned winning sectionals is anything but a breeze.
A year ago, the Highlanders dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 shootout decision to rival New Albany in the Class 2A Floyd Central Sectional semifinals.
On Wednesday, the Highlanders needed a shootout to overcome Providence to advance to Saturday’s championships. So as easy as Saturday’s triumph may have looked, Floyd Central took the time to enjoy its sixth sectional title in eight years.
“This is really good for the seniors,” Floyd coach Lewie Stevens said. “I’ve been here for 15 years. I get lots of opportunities for these, but for the girls, especially the seniors, they’ll remember this forever. This is an outstanding group of seniors who have put in a lot of hard work the last four years.”
After last year’s disappointing loss — a game in which they led 2-0 at the half — the Highlanders came back in 2013 determined to get their title back.
“This means a lot because last year was so disappointing,” senior Ellie Stewart said. “This is awesome. Finally my senior year, we get to win sectional again.”
“Last year was hard but we came back strong,” Highlander senior McKenzie Garringer said.
In the early going Saturday, it looked like the Highlanders’ minds were stuck somewhere between Wednesday’s win over Providence and this week’s regional. For the first 17 minutes, the game was scoreless and Jeffersonville (4-10-3) had a couple of runout opportunities that had to be cleared late by the Floyd Central defense.
With 23:03 left in the opening half, freshman reserve Emma Pappas finally gave the Highlanders the lead for which they’d been searching.
“The first 10 minutes, I thought we were [flat],” Stevens said. “I was excited to see when our second unit got into the game, we got a couple of goals. That picked us up, then our effort was good across the board. When our starters went back in the game, they were sharp. It was good to see that our second group had that in them, that they were capable of picking us up.”