Terre Haute North’s Patriots were the aggressors for the first 20 minutes against undefeated No. 8-ranked Castle on Wednesday night in the Class 2A Jasper Regional.
The Knights, now 20-0 after a 3-1 victory, were the possessors for a good chunk of the remaining 60 minutes off action to advance to Saturday’s final against Evansville Memorial.
“We knew we had to come out early and try to find something early. If we could have capitalized early, maybe we put a little bit of doubt in their heads,” North coach Kyle Baker said.
The Patriots didn’t manage a shot in the second half until Spencer Grim smacked a 25-yard free kick with 3.4 seconds left to prevent the shutout.
The Patriots spent most of the second half chasing a veteran Castle squad with nine senior starters. After collecting six shots on goal in the first half, Terre Haute North failed to threaten in the second half as Castle was a step ahead.
“Against a team that’s that experienced and that physical, eventually it wears you down,” Baker said. “We knew had to come out early and find something early. If we could have capitalized on one or two of those opportunities early, maybe you put a little doubt in their head.”
With just three senior starters, the Patriots will return a big percentage of their starters next season, including 27-goal scorer Grim and junior midfielder Michaela Schuld.”
We’re excited about the class coming in and we’re real excited about what we have coming back,” Baker said. “The future’s bright. The seniors left us better than we were.”
The Patriots kept the Knights from extending their 2-0 halftime lead, however, with some scrappy defense. Castle put 13 shots on goal in the second half alone, and North goalkeeper Brooke Frederick made most of those saves.
Frederick denied multiple shots after a Castle corner kick with 17:45 on the clock.
Sophomore Margaret Mary McMurtry saved a goal on Castle’s 5th corner of the night with just more than five minutes to go.
Terre Haute North had a couple near misses in those first 15 minutes of action.
The closest scoring chance came when freshman Maddie Stuck got past Castle keeper Madison Brink but Castle senior Amy LoBue denied her attempt directly in front of the goal.
The Patriots also got the first shot on goal in the fourth minute of action, and Libby Ward put a shot on target a few minutes later.
But Castle got on the scoreboard when Mikelle Martin found herself in open space down the right side and set up Hayley Shelton beautifully for the Knights’ first goal.
Terre Haute North had a solid scoring chance a few minutes later, but Castle transitioned quickly for a counter goal by Katie Piering with 11:38 on the clock.
“We knew from the first meeting, that they’ll eventually just start to wear you down,” Baker said. “They were winning all the 50-50s and it just wears on you. Once we got into the second half, we couldn’t find the energy.”
C — Hayley Shelton (Mikelle Martin), 15:14
C — Katie Piering (Hayley Shelton), 11:38
C — Shelton (Payton Johnson), 1:33
THN — Spencer Grim, 0:03.4
Next — Castle (20-0) plays Evansville Memorial (16-3-2) on Saturday in the championship of the 2A Jasper Regional.