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Missed opportunities doom West Lafayette girls at soccer semistate

October 21, 2012
West Lafayette Jr.-Sr. High School

West Lafayette’s girls soccer team had early chances and couldn’t capitalize.

Had the Red Devils been able to convert, perhaps the outcome would have been different Saturday.

Mishawaka Marian was able to make the most of its opportunities, scoring four times in five shots on goal to defeat the Red Devils 4-1 in the Class A Argos Semistate semifinals.

It’s the second year in a row the Knights knocked West Lafayette out in the semistate.

“We were hoping to be in the finals, just like last year, and to play the team that we lost to last year first, we wanted revenge, but it was not our year,” WL senior Laurel Fricker said.

Katie Bittner’s shot in the first minute was wide right. Bittner’s free kick 10 minutes later ricocheted off the Knights defenders and her rebound blast sailed high.

In the 16th minute, Shannon Hendricks forced the Red Devil defense out of position, then popped the ball to sophomore Denise Veldman for a score. Hendricks would also assist on Gabrielle Veldman’s goal just over a minute into the second half before scoring two unassisted goals herself.

“She (Hendricks) was fast, and we had problems stabbing with the defense,” senior Mirae Whitaker said.

West Lafayette’s long goal came on a header from Whitaker on Bittner’s corner kick in the 46th minute. That cut Marian’s lead to 2-1 and had the Red Devils feeling they were right back in the contest.

“It wasn’t just the goal, it was the fact that we were sitting on their half of the field for a few minutes and had a little possession and had them under pressure,” WL coach Aaron Blessing said. “I think what really hurt was the second goal they scored. If we tie it up instead of we’re still down a goal, maybe it changes momentum a little bit.”

Hendricks split the defense for her first goal exactly eight minutes after Whitaker’s score to put the Red Devils back at a two-goal deficit.

The Red Devils finish 13-5-1. West Lafayette’s other losses came to Guerin Catholic, Assumption (Ky.), Zionsville and Valparaiso.

“They were definitely the best 1A team we played all year,” Fricker said. “You can compare them to one of the better 2A teams that we lost to.”

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