ZIONSVILLE — In one of the toughest girls’ soccer sectionals in the state, No. 2-ranked Avon took on No. 4 Zionsville Wednesday night for a spot in Saturday’s regional final.
In a match that ebbed and flowed back and forth all night, Avon seized the moment and secured a 1-0 victory over the Eagles.
“It was huge,” Avon coach Eric Nance said of the win. “In games like this, it’s pretty much who scores first gets the victory because both teams are good defensively and have great soccer players.
“We just put it in the back of the net when we needed to.”
No opportunity was bigger for the Orioles than Hope Van Wagner’s corner kick late in the second half. Avon’s Cassidy Blacha, headed Van Wagner’s boot towards the goal and in the ensuing scrum, defender Bailee Storms sent the ball past Zionsville keeper Catherine Schmidt and into the back of the net.
“I usually start running to get back on defense, but I dropped to the top of the box and the ball just popped out and I kicked it in,” Storms said. “I put it in left-footed, which is not my dominant foot, so I was pretty excited. I have no words, it was amazing.”
Storms’ shot put the Orioles up by a goal with 13:55 left in the match.
Zionsville pushed even harder the rest of the way and with 1:36 left in the match, the Eagles’ Madison Lewis sent the tying goal past Avon keeper Kelsey Dossey.
However, the official on the far side of the field raised his flag, signaling a Zionsville player was offside and the score was nullified.
“We get that those calls have to be made, but with 90 seconds left to go you have to be 120 percent sure you are going to raise that flag,” Zionsville coach Ramon Aguillon said. “There were so many people in the box and to be honest, to call an offside when the ball gets kicked, the person might have been there when the ball arrived, but that doesn’t mean they were there when the ball got kicked.