FORTVILLE — Emily Koers has returned just in time to give the Greenfield-Central girls’ soccer team a potent 1-2 scoring threat. Whether her appearance on the pitch is enough to make the Cougars the first non-New Palestine champion in this sectional since 2005 will be decided Saturday.
Koers, a junior, scored her fifth goal in four matches since returning from an ankle injury to help the Cougars beat Shelbyville 6-0 Thursday in the sectional semifinals at Mt. Vernon. The injury kept the Cougars’ 2011 leading scorer sidelined for all but two other contests this season; in her absence, fellow junior forward Sammie McCoy took over as G-C’s dominant offensive weapon, piling up 22 regular season goals, then chipping in three more scores against Shelbyville.
The Cougars will take a 10-6 record into the championship Saturday, thanks largely to McCoy, who notched five goals last season as a sophomore, and a defense that allowed just six goals in the 10 matches Koers was absent this year.
“I was really proud of them,” Koers said of the Cougars, who registered at least six goals in a match for the sixth time this season on Thursday. “I didn’t think they would have scored as many goals as they did, especially Sammie. She stepped up a lot.
“I think it gives us a lot more confidence, because me and Sammie are like a dynamic duo up top.”
Tori Singco and Abbey Schulz recorded G-C’s other other goals against Shelbyville (6-10), with Alli Frazier making three assists and Savannah Rizor also getting an assist. G-C had 28 shots on goal, while the Golden Bears — a 7-0 loser to the Cougars Sept. 20 — managed just two shots. Katie Peters got the shutout in goal.
After their victory, the Cougars settled in to watch the second semifinal between six-time defending sectional champ New Palestine (11-6) and Mt. Vernon (11-4-1). Lauren Joray scored in overtime to life the Dragons to a 2-1 victory. New Palestine and host Mt. Vernon were tied 1-1 after regulation on scores from the Marauders’ Claudia Brown (two minutes into the tilt) and the Dragons’ Alyssa Mouzin (with 10 minutes left in the first half). The championship will be played Saturday at 5 p.m.
G-C claimed a sectional crown in 2005, the year before the Dragons started their title streak. The Cougars will need to avenge a 2-1 loss to New Palestine (Sept. 12) in order to halt the fire-breathers' rule.
“I think it was a pretty even game (against New Palestine), and if that’s who we play on Saturday, we’ll be willing and ready to prove that it’s an even match,” G-C coach Amanda Eid said prior to the second semifinal, responding to previous comments from New Palestine head coach Bobby Holden that the Dragons’ 2-1 win wasn’t all that competitive.
“So I don’t think it really matters who we play, we’re going to have to be on top of it. We’re going to have to be 100 percent for 80 minutes.”
Koers was absent for the Cougars’ regular season match against their sectional championship rival. Her presence adds to the Cougars’ strategic options, Eid noted.
“It’s changed a little bit,” the first-year coach said. “Before we were primarily playing long balls, through ball to the corner, trying to get it to Sammie and we have a little more room now for possession and playing to feet. But those are things we always wanted to work on, it’s just more of a possibility now.”
Notes: Mt. Vernon won its lone sectional title in 1996. ... Frazier leads the Cougars with 10 assists. She is also second on the squad in goals scored with eight. Koers and Singco have six each. ... Holden could win two titles in a space of a few hours. Also the NP boys’ soccer head coach, that team will face Mt. Vernon in the boys’ championship at Shelbyville at 7:30 p.m.
For a complete update on the girls’ NP-MV semifinal match, visit www.greenfieldreporter.com online or read Saturday’s Daily Reporter.