By GREG MENGELT
Facing the defending Class 2A champions and the ninth-ranked team in the state, Floyd Central needed to bring its A-game to hang with Evansville Memorial in Wednesday’s Jasper Regional opening round.
Unfortunately, the Highlanders weren’t at their best and dropped a 4-0 decision. The Tigers out-shot Floyd 25-3, including 20-1 in the first half, and advanced to Saturday’s regional championship game.
“Today was disappointing because we did not have a good day,” Floyd Central coach Lewie Stevens said. “Part of that had to do with Memorial, for sure, but also we were nervous and let the nerves get to us. There are a lot of things we did poorly that allowed them to have more opportunities than they should have.”
Memorial had seven significant scoring chances in the first 11 minutes, but all of its shots were either missed or stopped by Floyd keeper Jessica Coryell, who finished with nine saves.
With 14:18 left in the first half, Jacqui Wandling booted a corner kick past Coryell for a 1-0 Tiger lead.
After two nice scoring opportunities for the Highlanders — a pass from Lauren Wyatt to Christin Miller that Memorial keeper Kate Webster beat to the ball and a Presley Roos shot that was deflected over the goal — Abby Papariello made it 2-0 on a crossing pass by Abby Alexander.
Wandling and Papariello both went unmarked on their goals.
“One of the things we struggled with all year was letting little errors turn into big opportunties,” Stevens said. “If we can clean those up, we can use this as a learning process.”
“I felt like we pressured hard from the beginning and created quite a few opportunities,” Memorial coach Angie Lensing said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t successful early with some chances, but we stayed composed and continued to pressure.”
Despite being outscored and outplayed in the first half, the Highlanders felt like they were still in the game at the half. That feeling went away 14 seconds into the second half when Olivia Shafer took the opening kicoff of the second half, went down the right sideline and put a shot into the right corner of the goal for a 3-0 lead.
“That was a killer,” Stevens said. “We were down two, but we felt like we could still do something and that was just a bummer.”
For the next 37 minutes, the Highlanders played even with Memorial. After the third goal, the Tigers got off only three shots to two for Floyd, until Sarah Jacobs’ goal — a header from Alexander — ended the scoring.
“Unfortunately, we tend to play well in the second half and not the first half,” Stevens said. “We did settle in.”
The Highlanders’ season concludes with a 13-6-2 mark and they won their sixth sectional in eight years on Saturday.
“It was a good season,” Stevens said. “The whole was better than the parts with this team. Their chemistry was excellent. I feel bad for the seniors. I wish we could have gone out with a better performance. We probably left something out there on the field. That’s the way it goes sometimes. We just didn’t get it done.”
EVANSVILLE MEMORIAL 4, FLOYD CENTRAL 0
Ev. Memorial 2 2—4
Floyd Central 0 0—0
M — Jacqui Wandling (Hannah Hodge), 14:18.
M — Abby Papariello (Abby Alexander), 3:08.
M — Olivia Shafer (unassisted), 39:46.
M — Sarah Jacob (Alexander), 2:51.
Shots: Memorial 25, Floyd Central 3.
Shots on goal: Memorial 14, Floyd Central 2.
Scoring chances: Memorial 24, Floyd Central 2.
Saves: Memorial — Kate Webster 2; Floyd Central — Jessica Coryell 9, Team 1.
Corner kicks: Memorial 8, Floyd Central 1.
Offsides: Memorial 4, Floyd Central 0.
Fouls: Memorial 12, Floyd Central 0.
Cards: Memorial — Jacobs (yellow).