|EC girls soccer season followed by adversity|
|Written by Jim Buchberger|
|Monday, November 12, 2012 8:02 PM|
Challenges never stopped coming the way of East Central girls soccer this season.
But the Lady Trojans -13-6-2 on the field, including a Hoosier Cup tournament title and the program’s 14th sectional championship - always seemed to find a way to overcome.
EC hadn't won a sectional since 2008 and was a bit of an enigma with the return of longtime head coach Jim Lockwood Sr., following a three-year hiatus. Dealing with the tragic loss of Trojan boys team captain Jacob Amberger in an Oct. 6 auto accident, right in the middle of it all, girls varsity still came through.
Junior All-District first-team and all-conference midfielder Emily Koschmeder's game-winning goal with 19.2 seconds left in a tense sectional championship battle with defending champion South Dearborn lifted EC's season to a higher level.
Adversity befell East Central girls soccer even after its season ended with a 4-2 regional title game loss to Bloomington North Oct. 13. When a player was found to have participated in an illegal coed league while the high school season was in progress, Trojans were forced to
forfeit two late conference wins, over Batesville and Greensburg.
“We went through a lot of ups and downs this year, that's for sure,” said Lockwood, who completed his 19th season with the program, and 13th as head coach, with a smile. “This team came together as a group, which made it interesting to watch all year.
“It was especially tough toward the end. We tried to limit the distractions as much as we could. The kids were great through it all. I have nothing but respect for the way they handled everything. I have to say I enjoyed it. I was happy with their performance. I was glad to be a part of their getting it done.”
EC will graduate five seniors off its 2012 varsity roster, headed by senior all-conference defender Dani McClure, extremely active and constantly in motion all over the field. “She was a stalwart for us,” Lockwood noted. “She played with such confidence. She'll be missed.”
Three other departing seniors played roles in the Trojans' deep, talented midfield rotation. “Depth was a huge asset for us,” Lockwood noted.
“It was a long season.” They include Jenna Hountz (8 goals, 4 assists), Kay Epling (1 goal, 3 assists) and Claire Kern (1 goal, 1 assist). Classmate Maggie McMullen (1 goal, 1 assist) occupied a variety of spots as EC's No. 1 utility player.
Tall, athletic mid Koschmeder, who topped the Trojans with 15 goals, six assists, leads a strong group of East Central returnees next fall.
“Emily is such a strong player,” Lockwood said. “She's not flashy, but she anchored the middle for us. She has such a good understanding of the game. She seemed to play her best against the better teams.”
Junior All-EIAC classmate Daria Voelker (3 goals, 2 assists), another strong EC mid, emerged as a capable runningmate with Koschmeder, along with classmate Madison Martin (10 goals, 5 assists) and Becca Ginn (4 goals, 2 assists). Outside mid Hannah Patton (4 goals, 2 assists) gained confidence in her game in her first full varsity season.
Enhancing East Central's scoring punch up front were junior forwards Melody Lutz (10 goals, 10 assists), a playmaker who always seemed to be in the right spot, and Rachael Sicking (8 goals, 7 assists). Move-in Grace Emerson (7 goals, 3 assists) and Sarah Rosenzweig (2 goals, 1 assist), in her first full season after major ACL knee surgery in 2011, added top quality depth.
Defense, of course, always has been a trademark of Lady Trojan soccer. This year's team, which allowed 19 goals while dealing 10 shutouts, was no different.
With the exception of McClure, EC's entire defense returns, including stopper Hannah Woeste, a junior and sophomore standouts Katie Ravenna, Sarah Hallman and Kierstin Nadler. Junior Brianna DePue, who missed most of the season with an arm fracture, followed by an ACL injury, could battle back to help.
Junior goalkeeper Madison Turner struggled as much as any Trojan in her second varsity season, finishing with 137 saves (.830 percentage, despite a 1.01 goals-against average. Still, she came up with some huge saves late, especially to preserve EC's 2-1 regional semifinal victory over Columbus North.
And, as usual, East Central varsity will inject fresh talent next year from coach Jim Lockwood Jr.'s 8-2 reserve squad. Top jayvee performers who could be heard from include freshmen Madison Wiedeman, Ashley Petrocelli, Kiley Rodgers, Morgan Weber, Kylie Brock and Hayley DePue.
“Our future is going to depend on the work they all put in between now and then,” Lockwood added. “There are always lots of distractions, but I think our players will show their commitment. Winning creates an atmosphere where these kids continue to want to play.”