LAKEVILLE, IN. – LaVille girls soccer coach Daniel Pleninger wanted to find out what his team was made of. What it would take to play at a high level of competition.
You see the #2-ranked Lancers faced #1-rated Wheeler in the semifinal of the IHSAA Class 1A regional Saturday at Newton Park.
The Bearcats jumped out early, scoring in the third minute and 19th minute en route to a 5-0 victory.
“I think the biggest thing we learned was what it would take to play at a state championship level,” said Pleninger. “Wheeler will win state this year, and we were not far off from their level of competition. We matched their speed and physicality in a lot of situations. We simply made more mistakes. If anything, I hope that the match showed the girls that our school has the talent capable of winning a state championship.”
Wheeler scored early when a ball deflected off a LaVille player bounced over the head of the LaVille goalie. Later following a shot near the goal, a Lancer defended attempted to clear the ball but it glanced off a LHS player to put the #1-ranked team ahead 2-0 inside 20 minutes.
“I thought that the team responded well to those first two goals,” recalled Pleninger. “They did not give up and were able to stay positive in a situation where it would be very easy to allow another two goals quickly.
“However, you can’t dig yourself a hole when you’re trying to pull off an upset.”
The LaVille coaching staff prepared the team with various drills and match-type situations in practiced prior to Saturday’s match.
“Our approach to the match against Wheeler was the same as our other games, attention to details,” explained Pleninger. “We did our best to execute drills in practice as perfectly as possible and under pressure. All of the drills we did were under pressure because we knew that Wheeler likes to overwhelm teams with their pressure. The girls went into the match confident and were not afraid of Wheeler. Instead we were excited for the opportunity to make history. We just knew that we would have to execute perfectly.”
The Lancers managed five shots on goal against the top-ranked team before succumbing to the eventual regional champions. Wheeler defeated Boone Grove 5-1 to advance to the South Bend St. Joseph Semi State Saturday Oct. 21.
“I could not be more proud of the girls and the work they put in this season,” said the LaVille coach. “Winning sectionals and going 15-4 is a dream start for a first year coach, but the girls are the ones who put in all of the work. Every player had to decide whether they were going to believe in themselves, trust each other, and trust me and without them buying in, we would not have reached our potential.”
IHSAA GIRLS SOCCER REGIONAL
At Newton Park
WHEELER 5, LAVILLE 0
Wheeler: 3rd min
Wheeler: 19th min
Wheeler: 52nd min
Wheeler: 56th min
Wheeler: 58th min
Shots on Goal: 5
Corner Kicks: 0
Goalie Saves: 9 (Micah Edwards), 10 (Trynitie Cox)
Shots on Goal: 13
Corner Kicks: 8
Goalie Saves: 9 (Cheyenne Foor)