A state championship for any sport is the culmination of endless hours of effort and tremendous amounts of teamwork. On November 2nd, Coach Aaron Blessing and his girls soccer team achieved just that with a 2-0 win against Gibson Southern in the class A final at Michael A. Carroll stadium.
“We talked about winning state at practice every now and then but it was not our primary focus. We focused more on the smaller steps that it takes to get there,” Blessing said.
When a team wins state, people are quick to pick out just one superstar on the team that was able to carry them to all it’s success. However, the team had multiple players with talent who worked together in order to succeed.
“In the summer, I knew that players like Shelby, Erin, Hayley, and Maya would be talented,” Blessing said.
Another player who was big factor in the team’s success was senior goalkeeper and captain Emily Field ’14 who only allowed two goals during seven games of postseason play.
According to Blessing, there was not just one player that made the team so successful.
“Cohesiveness, the tendency or quality of sticking together towards common goals was probably the biggest reason why we were so successful in the end. We had really strong senior leaders and some great performers individually,” Blessing said.
The girls were anxious but also very excited on the day of their state championship game.
“We knew that we had a really good shot at winning the game if we played our style of possession,” senior captain Erin Brophy ’14 said.
Gibson Southern had a couple chances at goal early in the game and West Lafayette created chances of their own. By halftime, the score was tied at 0-0. The team to break the deadlock would have the upper hand and would ultimately have the advantage at winning the game. Even during the break West Lafayette was still feeling nervous as they walked back to the locker room.
“We talked about calming our nerves and coming out strong, because scoring early in the second half would give us that boost of confidence that we’d need,” Brophy said.
The team executed exactly what they talked about during half time. Within five minutes into the second half Brophy split the defense and connected with Shelby Mann ’14 who broke away from the defense and beat the Gibson Southern keeper in a one-on-one situation. Just a couple minutes later, West Lafayette scored again the same way they scored earlier in the game. The early scoring and energy put enough pressure on Gibson Southern and allowed West Lafayette win their first ever girl’s class A state championship.
“Winning state felt so good especially because it was the last time I played with the seniors and I wanted them to end their high school career with something memorable,” Sarah Waters ’15 said.