The New Castle High School girls soccer team attempted to achieve two goals against visiting Rushville Thursday night at Neal Field – win on Senior Night and end the regular season on a three-game winning streak.
Although Senior Night was festive, the host Trojans failed to achieve those objectives as the Lions scored a pair of goals in the first half and another in the second 40 minutes and went back home south to their den with a 3-0 victory.
Rushville improved to 6-8 while New Castle finished the regular season with a 2-12-1 record.
“I thought we played hard tonight,” New Castle Head Coach Sarah York remarked afterward. “We had two or three opportunities to score, but didn’t, and our defense held them (Lions) to three goals. The second season (IHSAA tournament) starts next week, and I look at that as a fresh start for us. We’ll go over there and try our best to get some wins.”
Before the contest, the Trojans honored seniors Maggie Lewis, Ashlynn Clouse, Amber Heera, Maddy Meek, and Kiera Harris, and thanked them for their contributions to the girls soccer program.
After a 4-0 shutout win at Anderson on Tuesday, New Castle was hoping for another victory to keep the momentum entering next week’s IHSAA sectional tournament.
The Trojans did have a few opportunities to tickle twine, but didn’t. Meanwhile, the Lions had a few more opportunities to score, and cashed in on three of them.
The visitors almost scored in the first 15 seconds, as senior Savannah Gray dribbled the ball down the field for a shot, but it went wide.
The defenses dominated for next 11 minutes of the game. Then Rushville junior Audrey Gulley placed a shot into the back of the net at the 28:32 mark of the first half for a 1-0 Lion lead.
That turned out to be the only goal the visitors would need, but nobody knew it at the time.
Rushville junior Jin Calaf almost scored 30 seconds later, but her attempt by gobbled up by Trojan goal keeper Lewis.
Gray almost scored at the 25:55 mark, but Lewis got another save, and Gray clanged the ball off the crossbar at the top of the goal 75 seconds later.
New Castle got its first good opportunity to score about seven minutes later, but a shot by sophomore Mireya Guerrero was smothered by Lion goal keeper Kelby Roberts at the 17:36 mark.
Rushville junior Belle Gossett shot the ball over the goal with 14:04 remaining in the first half, but Calaf connected on a shot at the 12:59 mark for a 2-0 Lion lead.
Lewis made a save 55 seconds later and Rushville’s Lily Krodel missed wide left at the 8:09 mark.
Meek got a good shot on which Roberts made a save 67 seconds later.
The Lions’ Gossett and Haley Shoffner missed shot attempts in the final 3:15 of the opening half, and Rushville had that 2-0 advantage at intermission.
Lewis made another save 91 seconds into the second half. The Lions missed a pair of shots two minutes later.
Meek barely missed an attempt at the 35:27 mark on which a Rushville player ran into Roberts. An injury timeout for Robert was the result.
When play resumed, the visitors had five more shots at the goal over the next 19 minutes that didn’t connect, one of which was thwarted by Trojan defender Corinne Harvey on a breakaway attempt by Calaf.
With exactly 16 minutes left in the game, Gulley tallied her second goal of the game for a 3-0 Lion advantage.
Except for a couple Rushville shot attempts, not much happened offensively in the remaining minutes, and the clock wound down on the regular season.
New Castle travels to Hamilton Heights High School Tuesday at 6 p.m. to play Jay County in the opening game of Class 2A Sectional 24.