Squaws stop Knights
A tight defensive battle was broken by a great offensive play by the Bellmont in the second half and the Squaws captured a 1-0 win over Norwell in Northeast Hoosier Conference girls soccer to remain unbeaten on the season.
The 5-0 Squaws had a decided ball possession edge in the first half but Norwell's defense focused on keeping the offensive combination of Taylor Kennedy, Sarah Gerke, and Madison Gephart quiet by keeping five players back and most of the time were double teaming the BHS forwards.
It wasn't until Kennedy finally made a second effort on a shot in the second half that the Squaws hit the scoreboard.
Bellmont coach Steve Lee noted Bellmont midfielders Kylie Beery, Amberly Gutierrez, Andrea Fruchte, Courtney Scherer, Megan Schueler, and Alyssa Strickler kept the ball in the Norwell zone for most of the half but strong play by Norwell goalie Haley Heller kept the game scoreless at the half.
Bellmont came out with a 4-3-3 formation in the second half, a different variation than they used in the opening frame and it allowed more of an attack on the stacked Norwell defense. Twenty-one minutes into the half, a switch by Natalie McConnell to Kennedy allowed the Bellmont senior to attempt to score but Heller came out on her and made the save. Not to be denied, Kennedy crashed the goal with a hop over the grounded keeper and deposited the ball in the Norwell net.
Norwell changed courses then and tried to attack with three forwards but Bellmont defenders Shelby Wright, Mikala Quinn, McConnell, and Macy Burkholder joined forces with goalie Maci Bosch to shut down the Knights over the final 20 minutes of play with Bosch making several nice stops in goal.
"We knew going in that Norwell had been playing tough defense and has been tough to score on. We knew it would take good possession soccer and patience to score. This was a good team win and it was great to see the team get comfortable with playing possession soccer, good time management, and the ability to change formations at any given time," Lee noted.
Lee lauded the bench play of Gutierrez, back from the disabled list after suffering a dislocated elbow, Gephart at the forward position, Scherer at mid-wing, and Ally Tussing at midfield.
Bellmont will receive its toughest test of the year to date next Tuesday when they host the Homestead Spartans with JV beginning at 5 p.m. and varsity at 6:30 p.m.