Print Shortlink

GIRLS SOCCER: Stars, Owls still have score to settle

BNL's Bridget McFarland heads the ball toward the net as Lexi Russell waits for a shooting opportunity. BNL and Seymour finished in a 1-1 tie on Thursday night.

BNL’s Bridget McFarland heads the ball toward the net as Lexi Russell waits for a shooting opportunity. BNL and Seymour finished in a 1-1 tie on Thursday night.

BNL and Seymour battle

to another 1-1 stalemate

on BNL’s Senior Night

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Over the past two seasons, Bedford North Lawrence and Seymour have battled for 240 minutes and haven’t settled anything.

For the third consecutive clash, and for the second time this season, the Stars and Owls finished in a 1-1 deadlock, and that ending didn’t satisfy a team celebrating Senior Night for three BNL captains.

Perhaps another stalemate was fitting. Both goals were far from orthodox, and the bruises and injuries far outnumbered the scoring opportunities. When familiar foes play this often, and this close, attitudes get chippy, elbows get sharper, and collisions are inevitable. Nothing could separate them this time.

BNL scored off a penalty kick early in the first half, and Seymour struck with an own goal only 16 seconds into the second. Style points were not awarded, and the physicality of the match would not have granted many of those anyway. Toughness was the issue, and neither buckled.

“This is always the most intense game that we play,” BNL coach Kelsey Pace said. “And I don’t know why that is.”

BNL's Haley Magness battles for possession of the ball. Magness suffered a knee injury later in the match.

BNL’s Haley Magness battles for possession of the ball. Magness suffered a knee injury later in the match.

It’s not a rivalry based on disdain, because the coaches get along. It’s based on respect, on the competitive fire among Hoosier Hills Conference neighbors, on the pride of both programs.

“I can’t say enough about the way our girls played,” Pace said. “I’ve been asking for 80 minutes of soccer, and they absolutely gave it. That’s the most intense game I’ve ever seen us play. What do you do?

“It was a physical game. We don’t normally play like that,  and I’m proud that we had to alter our play and get tougher. They had to adjust.”

BNL took the lead at 31:03 in the first half. The Stars were awarded the penalty kick for a hand-ball violation in the box, and Emily Baer converted the chance.

Seymour’s goal came on the first surge of the second, when BNL goalie Gabby Wilson came out away from the net to challenge a shot and the ball slipped behind her. BNL defender Margee Williams raced to the goal line to attempt a foot save, and perhaps the ball had already crossed the line by the time Williams arrived. It deflected off her into the upper left corner of the net.

And that was that, other than near misses by both teams and the constant exchange of jabs, pokes and shoves that left a lot of people limping. And these weren’t the feigned injuries soccer players are famous for. The Owls (5-3-2 overall, 1-1-1 in the HHC) had the best scoring opportunity, when Marie Lenart broke free and launched a hard shot from close range on the left wing with 2:45 left. Wilson made a tremendous diving save, and Williams got there in time to clean up the rebound near the post.

“They have a nice keeper,” Seymour assistant coach Bob Hartman said. “It took us a half for the kids to realize we can’t bring the ball down the middle, and they have a good defense.

BNL's Kiana Brown charges through Seymour's midfield.

BNL’s Kiana Brown charges through Seymour’s midfield.

“I loved the way my girls came out in the second half. We challenged them to come out with more intensity. They played as hard as they could all night.”

BNL is now 7-3-2 overall, 2-3-1 in the league. The Stars and Owls also finished in a 1-1 deadlock in the Hoosier Cup tournament in Bloomington earlier this season.

“We hate ties,” Pace said. “I hate to say we’re the better team, but I think we are, and I think our girls feel that way. Maybe they know they got away with one, when they’ve walking out like they did and we’re walking away with our heads down. Our girls expected to win.”

BNL will host Jeffersonville (the actual final home game for seniors Williams, Kat Emery and Kiana Brown) on Saturday morning.