South girls draw with North; Patriots keep The Ball

Sep. 15—Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South's girls soccer teams played to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday at South. A tie . . . it was equal on the scoreboard and a result that was equal to the spirit of the match too.

Where you start to split hairs is how the participants felt about the even-steven finish when they walked off the field.

North retained The Ball trophy for the 10th consecutive year, in a draw the holder keeps the trophy, but it's the first time since 2012 that the Patriots didn't defeat the Braves to get it.

Including sectional matches, which don't count for the Ball, North had won 14 matches in a row over the Braves. Wednesday's draw ended that streak.

"I'm a little disappointed. I am a senior and I wanted four years worth of wins. I'm proud of my team for staying in it, but South really wanted it and it showed in how they played," North goalkeeper Carah McKinney said.

Meanwhile? South was happy to get a foothold back in the intra-city series ... even if they didn't get the reward they wanted for their effort.

"This is the best game we've played all year. We executed exactly what we practiced. This is a young team that came out and fought against an older team," South coach Courtney Hubbard said.

A first-half goal by North's Lily Holder and a second-half equalizer by South freshman Breena Ireland provided the scoring. Prior to any goals, McKinney saved a penalty by South's Mallory Rich.

Beyond that? North had a 12-6 edge in shots, though few were on-goal. North also had a 7-2 edge in corner kicks. However, South had nearly as much possession.

The Braves pressed and won balls in the midfield and on the wing. South's most fruitful chances came via Alayla Connelly and Margo Mallory on the wings.

"Given the recent results in the series? I'm sure this surprised people, but it didn't surprise us," North coach Kyle Baker said.

"With the players they've added? They're athletic, they play very direct, and they run at you all night. They play route one, in your face, all night and it's effective," Baker continued.

It was Mallory who gave South (3-4-3, 1-2-2) its first chance 10 minutes into the contest. Attempting to find space in the penalty box, she deked her defender and was tripped inside the 18-yard box for a penalty.

Rich took the penalty, but McKinney was ready.

"You have to go with your instinct. You watch the way the player lines up, you look at their feet, and you just go. You can't think, you go. See ball, get ball, and that's what I did," McKinney said.

Six minutes after the penalty save, the Patriots were on the board. Holder, who was North's most productive player on her right wing, sent a ball into the 18-yard box from the right side. Intended as a cross, it floated goal-ward. South goalkeeper Josiah Killinger was off her line and Holder's boot dropped into the net, not unlike a leaf falling from a tree, to make it 1-0.

"It definitely was a cross. Sometimes I hit it and it goes at a wonky angle. I got lucky, but it was really nice to score in a North-South game. I never did before," Holder said.

North held on to its lead, creating a few chances along the way, while absorbing South attacks. However, the dam broke with 10:16 left in the match. Rich won the ball just outside the penalty box in the center of the pitch and passed to Ireland on the right side. Ireland fired to the left side of the net and her shot had enough power on it to get past McKinney to tie the match.

"The minute I saw the back of the net ripple, it felt so good to tie it up for us," Ireland said. "Many people came in thinking North would have an easy win again. We proved them wrong."

North (6-1-3, 2-1-1) did create the best chances from there. With 2:22 left, Cali Wuestefeld worked a nice flick to Alyse Thompson, who was one-on-one with Killinger, but the South keeper stood her ground and saved the shot.