GREENFIELD — Playing a team in back-to-back games is never easy, and the Greenfield-Central Cougars experienced that first hand Thursday night as they defeated the Shelbyville Golden Bears 1-0 in the sectional semifinal.
Two weeks ago, the score was 7-0.
“We had two weeks in between games,” Greenfield-Central coach Erin Clark said afterwards. “I kind of expected that, but luckily we responded in the second half.”
The game started with quite a scare for the Cougars, as a free kick 30 seconds after kickoff hit the crossbar and bounced around in the box before senior goalkeeper Kayla Enochs could corral it. However, the skill and athleticism of the Cougars would ensure that was the closest Shelbyville would come to scoring for the remainder of the game.
The first half ended goalless, but the Cougars made their mark on the game.
Numerous passes that would have lead to breakaway opportunities came a split-second too late as the plays were called back for offsides, and sophomore forward Trystan Ailes hit the post on an attempt.
“The offsides in the first half was a symptom of us not playing for two weeks,” Clark said. “With only practicing its hard to keep up that game rhythm.”
With sophomore midfielder Lucy Brand controlling possession in all areas of the field, the Cougars were able to keep control in the second half. Seven minutes into the final half, Ailes worked through and calmly slotted the ball past the Shelbyville keeper’s right hand for the team’s only goal of the night, despite the near constant pressure.
“The second half, I couldn’t even really count how many shots on goal we had,” Clark said about her team’s uptick in pressure. “We just couldn’t finish tonight, but Shelbyville’s a good team and came ready to play.”
Postseason play is all about advancing, and although it wasn’t with a pretty scoreline, that is what the Cougars did. Their reward is a chance for revenge against a county foe in the sectional championship game Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.
“Although we came out flat tonight, I think it’s a bit easier for the girls to get ready to play against a more natural rival in Mt. Vernon or New Pal,” Clark said looking forward to Saturday.
Greenfield-Central 1, Shelbyville 0
GC: Trystan Ailes, 1 Goal; Kayla Enochs, recorded shutout