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Patriots lose in sectional opener

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By Zane Clodfelter, Sports editor

EVANSVILLE — Heritage Hills’ memorable season came to an end Oct. 2 as Evansville Memorial downed the Patriots 6-0 in the first round of the IHSAA Class 2A girls soccer sectional.

“They just have great touch, they spread you out and our plan was to get up on them,” Patriots Coach Andy Fischer said. “Don’t let them turn, don’t let them have time with the ball and try to play physical with them but they really spread us out.”

The loss was just the third for Heritage Hills this fall but its the second-straight year the Tigers ended the Patriots’ season in the sectional after winning 7-0 in the championship in 2017.

Early on, Memorial dominated the possession but had trouble scoring with Heritage Hills packing in its defense with midfielders.Eventually, the Tigers broke through when Elle Unfried scored on an assist from Ryleigh Anslinger to give Memorial a 1-0 advantage with 19 minutes left in the first half.

“Moving to where the opening is and they did a real nice job, you can tell they play a lot together year-round,” Fischer said. “It shows, they are a fantastic.”

Nine minutes later, Mallory Wittmer scored well outside the box to push the Tiger lead to 2-0. With 3:13 remaining before halftime, Anslinger scored a goal of her own to make it 3-0 heading into the break.

“We competed each and every time,” Fischer said. “We won a lot of balls out of the air, it’s that second ball a lot of times that you have to win too.”

From there, Memorial cruised to the victory. Annah Hopkins cleaned up a corner kick and scored on an assist from Mia Abushalback to give the Tigers a 4-0 advantage. With 12 minutes left, Anslinger assisted on Eve Timmon’s goal that made the score 5-0.

Izzy Alexander capped the scoring for the Tigers with a goal with seven minutes left.

Memorial improved to 14-3 on the season and advanced to the sectional semifinal with the victory. Heritage Hills season ends at 13-3-1.

Kiersten Schuler and Lydia Genet each scored 16 goals to led Heritage Hills in scoring this season. Schuler also led the team with eight assists.

Heritage Hills finished unbeaten in PAC play at 5-0, winning its first conference title since 2014.

“I learned to rely on the skill of our players and knowing what their strengths are,” Fischer said. “We are going to continue to do that and try to keep this program rolling in the right direction.”