BY Dennis Glade
The Washington Times-Herald
---- — NEWBURGH — Washington’s biggest flaw this season has been giving up early goals — and Castle capitalized on that early on.
Castle (18-0) defeated Washington (11-6-1) 6-0 Thursday night in the Class 2A girls soccer sectional behind two goals apiece from Hayley Shelton and Payton Johnson.
Castle came out aggressive and that gameplan paid immediate dividends when Shelton scored the first goal of the night nine minutes into play on a rebound off her own shot. Only 64 seconds later, Johnson scored when she attempted to put the ball in front of the goal from the right corner and the ball found the left corner of the net over the outstretched arms of Washington goaltender Ally Hunsinger.
“They’re skilled at every position,” said Washington coach Stacy Bryant. “There’s no girl on that team no matter what position she plays that she can’t handle it. Sometimes soccer is Russian Roulette, and when you play a team like Castle, you’re loading several bullets into the chamber and spinning it around. They’re undefeated for a reason, and we saw several reasons for that.”
Washington was able to hold Castle scoreless for the final 30 minutes of the half, but the Hatchets couldn’t muster any offense and they went into halftime with a 2-0 deficit. In the first game of this season, Washington trailed 2-0 at halftime at Castle before losing by the same score. Unfortunately for Washington, the Knights weren’t done scoring.
Johnson scored her second goal of the night just 3:40 into the second half to push the advantage to 3-0. Eight minutes later, Shelton added her second goal of the night and the score was 4-0. Katie Schroeder and Katy Piering each scored a goal to push the lead to 6-0 with 24:41 to play in regulation.
“I really felt at halftime that we still had a shot at it, because I thought we were better at attacking than we were the first time we played them and we’re better defensively,” Bryant said. “It was just too many weapons and too many skill players. It was the Alamo, or whatever you want to call it. We were General Custer, and there were too many Indians. We were just outnumbered.”
As he finished up his first season as the coach of the Washington girls, Bryant and the WHS program says goodbye to a group of nine seniors, many of which Bryant has been coaching since before they were even in junior high school.
“I’m sure not ready for our season to be over,”Bryant said. “As a coach I probably want it more than any of them, and that’s not just because I want to win, or because I’m a competitor. I just enjoy spending time with the girls — it’s a good group of girls. I’m not even talking about soccer playing, they are good kids.”