Girls Varsity Soccer · Experience pays dividends for Lady Stars

DOVER — The Western Boone girls soccer team is no stranger to shootouts.

Heading into Thursday night’s game with Faith Christian, the Stars had gone to a shootout in four of the previous five seasons, winning three and losing one.

So when the match-up with the Eagles went to PKs, the Stars were ready. All that experience paid off for the team, as the Stars topped the Eagles 1-1 (4-3 in PKs) to advance to the sectional final Saturday night.

“We are comfortable going to PKs,” Western Boone head coach Brett Craig said. “Every girl on this team has been there before and knows what it takes and what their job is. They are comfortable in that situation.”

That experience also helped in the shootout itself.

The Stars trailed 2-1 through the first two rounds of kicks, but Alexie Wise made a save to help the Stars tie it at 2 after three rounds.

Both teams made their fourth kick, but only WeBo made it in the fifth round, with Wise making another save.

Isabella Whelchel, Hillary Reed, Anaiha Baxter and KaLeigh Steimel all made their kicks for the Stars.

“We know there are going to be ups and downs,” Craig said. “We know that misses happen, but you have five kickers up there and we find a way to get it done.”

Faith Christian led 1-0 at the half.

But early in the second half, Hillary Reed tied the game and the game remained tied through the rest of regulation and overtime.

“They put it all together,” Craig said. “Everything that we have been working on the last couple of weeks they put together today and got the win. History helps. We have been down and have come back. And then we know PKs.”

It is the sixth-straight season the Stars will play for the sectional title.

They have gone 2-3 in the previous five. Craig said making it to the title game was a total team effort.

“It was all 23 girls, it really was,” Craig said. “There wasn’t a single down girl on the bench. Everyone was talking on the bench, excited and helping the other girls push through. They went on the field excited, came off the field excited and cheered for one another.”

Winning the sectional title won’t be an easy feat for the Stars.

They will host No. 1 Lafayette Central Catholic, who topped North White 11-0 in the other semifinal.

“I feel like if we play our game at the top end, then we are right there with them,” Craig said. “We will take the chances where they fall and see what happens.”

Will Willems is the Sports Editor of the Lebanon Reporter and Zionsville Times Sentinel. Follow him on Twitter @Will_Willems.