ALL SPORTS CHAMPS
NCC ATHLETE OF
RHS girls soccer falls to Connersville 1-0
October 5, 2011North Central Conference
RUSHVILLE, Ind. -- The shots flowed freely for the Richmond girls soccer team Tuesday night.
The Red Devils outshot Connersville 13 to 7. They controlled much of the action, keeping the ball in their opponents' end.
But a season-long struggle to score culminated with a final night of frustration on offense. And when Connersville managed to find the back of the net with one and Richmond couldn't respond, the tears began to flow freely as the season ended and with it the high school careers of seven Red Devil players.
Connersville held off a valiant final fury by the Red Devils to take a 1-0 victory Tuesday in an IHSAA soccer sectional at Rushville's field. The Spartans advance to play host Rushville on Thursday in the next round.
Richmond, which struggled to score during a winless North Central Conference campaign, finished the season 5-13-1. Seniors Jenna Ripperger, Sarah Sheridan, Jalencia Lemons, Kristen Beck, Catey Costello, Kristina Moore and Hope Rice concluded their careers.
"We played our hearts out. We just couldn't get it," said Ripperger, who took four close shots in the final few moments, her last and best chance with 24 seconds remaining just clearing the crossbar. "I love soccer and my team so much. We grew as a team and as individuals. And I don't regret one thing over the years."
Richmond had several chances in the first half. Freshman Julia Keene took three cracks at the goal, narrowly missing on two, and freshman Hannah Guth's shot sailed over the crossbar inside the 10-minute mark.
Sophomore Chloe Conley played forward much of the first half and her speed gave Connersville fits.
Sheridan played multiple positions in her final game, starting on defense and moving up to aid in the scoring effort. Lemons finished with six saves.
"This has been the most fun season. So many new friends," Sheridan said afterward, keeping her composure while fighting back tears. "I always looked forward to coming out and playing."
In the second half, Connersville began putting together more passes, especially in the middle of the second half. But Richmond regained the edge and pecked away.
Then came the breakthrough. Connersville earned a cornerkick with 8 minutes remaining. The cross curled beautifully in front of RHS goalkeeper Lemons. She was defenseless as Carissa Fox headed in the cross for a 1-0 lead with 7:49 remaining that held up.
"We just couldn't put it in the net. Finishing has been our problem," RHS coach Rita Lickliter said. "But all seven seniors played very well. I'm proud to be their coach."