LAKEVILLE — It wasn’t for lack of a LaVille effort. In the end, Mishawaka Marian was simply as good as advertised.
A disciplined Lady Knights side controlled possession pretty much wire to wire, and third-ranked defending semistate champion Marian trumped the 20th-ranked Lancers 6-0 at the LaVille Girls Soccer Sectional at Newton Park Tuesday.
“They played tough against a good team,” said LaVille girls soccer coach Steve Hodge. “We just didn’t have the soldiers to match up with them.”
Shannon Hendricks scored on a far post dribbler to put the Knights on the board less than five minutes in, and she notched a second goal on a leader from Denise Veldman to stake Marian to a 2-0 lead in the 10th minute. From there, it was tough going for the hosts.
“We tried not to give up after it,” said Lancers junior captain Nina Zeiger of Marian’s second goal. “It was a little bit of a letdown, but we tried to stay tough. But they have really, really good forwards and midfield and defense so it was hard to come back after that.”
“We knew they were going to be tough. We tried to play maybe a little too defensive,” said Hodge. “The second goal was offsides… I don’t want to go out on sour grapes, but that second goal does mean a lot.”
Emma Capannari scored on a beautiful corner into the far side of the net with 2:25 left to go to leave LaVille trailing 3-nil at the half.
With the Knights relentlessly pressuring LaVille’s defense, Gabrielle and Denise Veldman dribbled in a pair of empty netters when Lancers keeper Kyleigh Breden — who finished with six saves as Marian outshot LaVille 18-3 — came far off her line in the 43rd and 45th minutes to put the game out of reach early in the second half.
Zeiger’s shot from in close on a free kick service from Elaina Ruiz went wide in the 50th minute, and Zeiger registered a pair of shots on goal in the 63rd and 70th minutes, but Marian goalie Makaela Douglas saved both — including a quality diving trap on Zeiger’s hard drive in the 63rd — to preserve the shutout.
Veldman dribbled one in from close on an Elizabeth Cook cross with 6:06 to play to bring the score to its final margin.
“We played better in the second half,” said LaVille senior captain Heather Dorn.
Marian improved to 11-4-2 and will face Elkhart Christian, which eliminated Culver Community in double overtime in the early quarterfinal at Newton Park, in a semifinal matchup Thursday.
LaVille closed out a strong 12-5 season in which the Lady Lancers earned a repeat Northern State Conference championship and broke into the Indiana Soccer Coaches Association Class A state polls in 20th.
The team bids farewell to a trio of players in senior captains Ruiz, Dorn and Erika Fuchs, who was forced to watch from the sidelines of her final game with an injury.
“We won conference again; it was our second year. And we won our own tournament this year,” said Zeiger.
“I think we all played really hard, and we got a lot closer.”
“I’m pretty proud of them,” said Hodge. “These seniors have given four years of just excellent service, and they’re a credit to their school.”
In Tuesday’s early game at Newton Park, Culver Community jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half but couldn’t quite hold on as Taylor Pennington’s goal on a Brianna Lowe assist in the 92nd minute lifted Elkhart Christian to a 3-2 double overtime win, thus eliminating the Lady Cavaliers from tournament play.
Denisha Brown scored in the second minute to give Culver an early advantage, and Kayla Shaffer finished off another score in the 27th minute to give the Cavs a 2-0 halftime edge.
But Caitlin Brown scored less than four minutes into the second half on a Taylor Bell assist to cut the lead to 2-1, and Lowe notched the game-tying goal for ECA on a Bell helper in the 54th minute to set the stage for Pennington’s late heroics.
Mickella Hardy recorded three saves in goal for Culver, which outshot Elkhart 14-11 in the loss.
With the heartbreaking loss, Culver loses one senior in midfielder Trista Littleton.
• MISHAWAKA MARIAN 6, LaVILLE 0
At LaVille Sectional at Newton Park
Shannon Hendricks, 5th minute
Hendricks (Denise Veldman), 10th minute
Emma Capannari, 38th minute
Gabrielle Veldman 43rd minute
D. Veldman 45th minute
D. Veldman (Elizabeth Cook), 74th minute
Shots: Marian 18, LaVille 3
Saves: Marian 2 (Makaela Douglas), LaVille 6 (Kyleigh Breden)
Corners: Marian 4, LaVille 0
Records: Marian 11-4-2, LaVille 12-5
• ELKHART CHRISTIAN 3, CULVER COMMUNITY 2 (2 OT)
C — Denisha Brown 2nd minute
C — Kayla Schaffer 27th minute
EC — Caitlin Brown (Taylor Bell) 44th minute
EC — Brianna Lowe (Bell) 54th minute
EC — Taylor Pennington (Lowe) 92nd minute
Shots: Culver 14, Elkhart Christian 11
Saves (goalkeeper): Culver 3 (Mickella Hardy), Elkhart Christian 4 (Hannah Stayton)
Corners: Culver 6, Elkhart Christian 6