Huddling together after Thursday’s 1-0 loss to The Blake School in the Class A state championship match, the girls soccer team leaned together, using each other for strength during their toughest moment of 2011.
Fitting, considering it’s what these teammates did all season long. The Red Knights—unbeaten until Thursday—grew together this fall, and it resulted in a trip to the state finals.
“They just need to be really proud,” coach Scott Helling-Christy said. “We graduated 10 seniors last year, five starters, and for them to come together and pick up where those players left off is a real credit to them.”
The Red Knights were their same aggressive selves Thursday, but Blake’s defense was that much better. The Bears (20-1-0) steered BSM aside when necessary, and even though the Red Knights outshot the Bears 10-7 in the game, it was Blake that won the state title.
The difference came with 21 seconds left in the first half, when Blake’s Grace Boatman found open space to the right of Red Knights goalkeeper Mikayla Coulombe and firing a shot across the net for the goal.
“We were a little out of position and they had three girls on the back side,” senior Peggy Renier said. “And we just didn’t get back and cover.”
BSM continued to apply pressure, even producing a straight-on shot and a corner kick in the final two minutes of play.
In the end, it was Blake’s night. Still, that didn’t break the Red Knights’ spirit.
For a team that replaced 10 seniors from a year ago—including five starters—this team grew up together this fall. In their last moments on the field, the girls held to the bond they created with one another.
“I know everyone says this about their team, that they came together and were all friends. But this team really was all friends,” junior Dana Buckhorn said. “Everyone came together. We hang out outside of soccer, and we really get along.”
Though they wished for a win, Renier said the school’s first trip to the state championship match since 2006 was one to remember.
“To make it here with so many new girls who just stepped in and took their role on this team, it’s amazing to be here,” Renier said. “It’s too bad we didn’t come out with a win, but it was a great year and I’ll always remember it.”
GAME SCORING SUMMARY
1. 39:39 BLAKE Grace Boatman (Hannah Randolph)
BSM ALL-STATE TEAM SELECTIONS
Mikayla Coulombe (goalkeeper)
Dana Buckhorn (attacker)
Peggy Renier (midfielder)
Kelly Pannek (midfielder)