TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute North boys soccer coach John Welch is not a big proponent of moral victories.
But he had nothing bad to say about his Patriots after their competitive 2-0 loss to undefeated Vincennes Lincoln in the championship game of the IHSAA Class 2A Terre Haute North Sectional on a cold Saturday morning.
The Alices posted first-half goals by senior midfielder Kyle Richardville and senior forward Eric Ramirez, the state’s record-setting scoring leader with 70 goals this season, before North shut them down in the final 55-plus minutes.
“We were playing a little tentative at the beginning,” Welch assessed. “We were obviously concerned about their offensive prowess and they’re certainly a very good team — not only offensively, but defensively. They haven’t let in many goals and really we didn’t have many opportunities to score.
“In the second half, we played much better … much better through the midfield. We held ’em scoreless, but we still needed to get some opportunities on goal.”
“I think we owned the middle of the park,” Vincennes Lincoln coach Shaun Soderling told the Tribune-Star after posing for team photos. “We knew we had to win the game in the middle of the field. A big credit goes to [midfielders] Richardville, Blane Hill and Cole Claycomb for doing their jobs and filling out their roles in the middle of the park.
“We were pretty confident we knew what [the Patriots] were going to do. We pretty much filled every single spot that they were trying to go to.”
Richardville, the state’s all-time leader in assists, got the scoring started with a close-range goal with 22:12 left in the first half. About seven minutes later, he assisted on Ramirez’s left-footed goal from about 18 yards out.
Guarding the net for North was senior Myles Curry, who made 14 saves.
“He made some really good saves,” Welch noted. “There was a slick ball at the beginning of the game that I think allowed the first goal to go in. But he came up strong later in the half. And in the second half, he was really strong.”
Vincennes Lincoln, an honorable-mention selection in the state coaches poll, seems motivated to prove that it deserves to be ranked in the top 20. Earlier in the week, the Alices eliminated Terre Haute South from the sectional with an 8-1 decision.
“Today was for the [sectional] trophy and those are the games that we really want to win,” Soderling mentioned, “the ones that have trophies inolved.”
Both coaches agreed the starting-time temperature of 39 degrees had virtually no impact on the outcome.
“I don’t think it affected us at all,” Welch said. “This is actually better soccer weather than warmer weather.”
As the Patriots concluded a 9-9-1 season, Welch described the last few months as “very satisfying.”
“We had some adversity that we had to overcome,” he reflected, “and this team was really strong and did a great job.”
Vincennes Lincoln 2 0 — 2
Terre Haute North 0 0 — 0
VL — Kyle Richardville (Blane Hill), 22:12 1H
VL — Eric Ramirez (Richardville), 15:10 1H
Next — Vincennes Lincoln (19-0) will advance to the Washington Regional on Thursday to face the winner of the Evansville Memorial-Evansville Bosse sectional game from Saturday night. North finished 9-9-1.