New Albany's Grace Barber. 

NEW ALBANY — Christian Academy girls’ coach Brett O’Loughlin and his daughter, Reilley, a senior midfielder for the Warriors, put a double-team on Emma Fletcher in the preseason in an effort to get her to join the squad. 

“It took a lot of convincing to get her to play,” Reilley O’Loughlin, Fletcher’s friend and classmate, recalled after practice Monday.

But it wasn’t until the elder O’Loughlin appealed to Fletcher’s benevolent side that he reeled her in.

After hearing about a nearby elderly couple that needed help moving, Brett O’Loughlin volunteered his team's assistance. Then, he spied Fletcher in a hallway at CAI.

“I said, ‘Hey, do you have any service hours this year?’” he recalled asking her. “She said, ‘No.’ So I asked her, ‘Do you need some?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘Alright, come with me.’"

The combination of community service and camaraderie must've swayed Fletcher.

“She called the next day and said, ‘I’m in coach. I want to play,'" Brett O'Loughlin recalled. 

The addition of Fletcher, a track & field standout at her school, has helped the Warriors (6-4-1) to a winning season and also taken some of the pressure off of the younger O’Loughlin. Fletcher has 15 of her team’s 29 goals this season, while O’Loughlin has 10 goals and 12 assists for CAI, which will play at 7 p.m. Thursday night in the semifinals of the Class A Providence Sectional. 

“She’s really athletic, so it really worked out that she is someone that I can connect with on the play. And, she is easy to teach how the game works since she’s never really played before,” Reilley O’Loughlin said of Fletcher. “So we’re able to tear up the field and go through a bunch of defenders easily because we work well together.” 

“Emma’s one of our better athletes that we’ve had come through here. So teaching her how to do some things has been a lot of fun — she’s just a natural athlete. And so it’s helped Reilley take some of the pressure off of her,” Brett O’Loughlin added. “So breaking Emma free, using her speed at the top and out on the wings has been a God-send. Now that Emma’s understanding more, don’t just take off running, pass the ball back ... we were looking for her before, now she’s learning to look for Reilley. It’s paying off pretty well for us. And it helps that they’re both good kids and they both work hard.” 

Fletcher and O’Loughlin are just one of several dynamic duos, especially on the girls’ side, for the local teams this season. 

New Albany boasts juniors Grace Barber and Emma Lopp, who have combined for 32 goals (Barber 19, Lopp 13) and 14 assists (Lopp nine, Barber five) this season, while Floyd Central features seniors Audrey Brumfield and Katie Yankey, an Indiana State commit. Those four players will face off at 7 p.m. tonight in a first-round match of the 3A Seymour Sectional.

Silver Creek, which faces North Harrison at 5:30 pm. today in the first round of the 2A Scottsburg Sectional, is led by senior Vic Hutchings and freshman Olivia Johnston. 

Meanwhile Providence, if it wins tonight, could counter CAI’s 1-2 punch with its senior trio of Avery Stumler, Carlie Miiller and Kaylee Kaiser in Thursday night's semifinals.  

Below is a quick look at all of the sectionals involving local teams. 


All records are as listed on


Class 3A Floyd Central Sectional 

     Match 1: Columbus North 3, Jennings County 0, Monday

     Match 2: New Albany (8-3-5) vs. Jeffersonville (8-5-3), 5 p.m. today

     Match 3: Seymour (3-9-4) vs. Columbus East (12-0-3), 7 p.m. today 

     Match 4: Floyd Central (6-8-2) vs. Columbus North (7-9-1), 5 p.m. Wednesday 

     Match 5: Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 7 p.m. Wednesday 

     Final: Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner, 2 p.m. Saturday 

Defending champion: Floyd Central. 

Storylines: The host Highlanders have won sectional titles in five of the last six years, but the unbeaten Olympians, who are ranked fifth in 3A, have to be considered the favorites. ... The winner of tonight's match between the Bulldogs and the Red Devils, who recently played to a 2-2 tie, could give East some trouble in the semis. ... Floyd hopes to recapture some of its recent postseason magic after a very, very difficult regular-season schedule. 

Class 2A Madison Sectional 

     Match 1: Scottsburg 1, North Harrison 1 (Warriors win 4-2 in PKs), Monday

     Match 2: Corydon Central (9-1-3) vs. Charlestown (3-6-1), 5:30 p.m. today 

     Match 3: Salem (3-9) vs. Madison (8-6-2), 7:30 p.m. today 

     Match 4: Silver Creek (5-9-2) vs. Scottsburg (11-1-2), 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

     Match 5: Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday 

     Final: Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner, 2 p.m. Saturday

Defending champion: North Harrison. 

Storylines: The Warriors, who beat defending champion North Harrison in penalty kicks Monday, have to be considered the favorites given their record. They did, though, tie both Charlestown and Corydon Central during the regular season. ... Madison senior Carson Denton ranked second in the Hoosier Hills Conference in points (32) and goals (13) during the regular season while junior teammate Will Heitz had 26 points and 10 assists, which tied for the HHC lead. ... Silver Creek senior Jack Gleason finished the regular season with 32 points (15 goals, 2 assists). 

Class A Trinity Lutheran Sectional

     Match 1: Trinity Lutheran (1-11) vs. Lanesville (0-9-1), Monday

     Match 2: Christian Academy (8-5-1) vs. Rock Creek (1-6-1), 5 p.m. today 

     Match 3: Providence (9-7) vs. Henryville (9-2), 7 p.m. today

     Match 4: Austin (2-11-1) vs. Match 1 winner, 5 p.m. Wednesday

     Match 5: Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 7 p.m. Wednesday

     Final: Match 4 winner vs. Match 5 winner, 2 p.m. Saturday

Defending champion: Providence. 

Storylines: The 12th-ranked Pioneers, who have won seven straight sectional titles, have to be considered the favorites. ... The Hornets have been solid behind junior Parker Rappe, who had 14 goals in his first seven matches this season; junior Hugo Balsa and senior Drake Dukes. ... The Warriors have had a very good season led by junior Yonelson Alvarez and sophomore Lane Hancock. ... Austin senior Zach Stidham led the Mid-Southern Conference with 34 points (16 goals, 2 assists). 


Class 3A Seymour Sectional 

     Match 1: Bedford NL (3-10) vs. Seymour (8-6-2), 5 p.m. today

     Match 2: Floyd Central (10-4-2) vs. New Albany (9-2-2), 7 p.m. tonight

     Match 3: Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner, 5 p.m. Thursday 

     Match 4: Jeffersonville (3-6) vs. Jennings County (11-6), 7 p.m. Thursday

     Final: Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner, 7 p.m. Saturday

Defending champion: Floyd Central. 

Storylines: The Highlanders have won three straight sectional titles and with the recent return of senior standout Katie Yankey, they are the favorites. Senior Audrey Brumfield has had a standout season for Floyd. ...The Highlanders' biggest competition will likely be the Bulldogs, who have a terrific tandem of their own in juniors Grace Barber (19 goals, 5 assists) and Emma Lopp (13 goals, 9 assists). 

Class 2A Scottsburg Sectional 

     Match 1: North Harrison (10-2-2) vs. Silver Creek (7-7), 5:30 p.m. today

     Match 2: Scottsburg (5-6-3) vs. Madison (5-8-3), 7:30 p.m. today

     Match 3: Match 1 winner vs. Match 2 winner, 5:30 p.m. Thursday

     Match 4: Salem (4-6) vs. Corydon Central (1-8), 7:30 p.m. Thursday

     Match 5: Match 3 winner vs. Match 4 winner, 7 p.m. Saturday

Defending champion: Silver Creek. 

Storylines: The Lady Cats, who went undefeated in the Mid-Southern Conference this season, are the favorites. ... The Dragons, who have won back-to-back sectional titles, are led by senior Vic Hutchings and freshman Olivia Johnston. Hutchings is tied for the team-lead with seven goals while Johnston also has seven goals, to go along with a team-best 17 points. 

Class A Providence Sectional

     Match 1: Providence (6-4-4) vs. Southwestern (4-6-2), 7 p.m. tonight

     Match 2: Austin (0-9) vs. Trinity Lutheran (8-5), 5 p.m. Thursday

     Match 3: Christian Academy (6-4-1) vs. Match 1 winner, 7 p.m. Thursday 

     Final: Match 2 winner vs. Match 3 winner, 7 p.m. Saturday 

Defending champion: Providence. 

Storylines: The Pioneers have won back-to-back sectional titles and four in the last five years. They are led by seniors Avery Stumler (16 goals, 2 assists), Carlie Miiller (3 goals, 14 assists) and Kaylee Kaiser (7 goals, 3 assists). ... Providence's biggest competition could come from CAI. 

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