Owensville Eliminates Sullivan From District Tourney
It took just a minute for Sullivan to watch momentum rapidly swing to Owensville.
Locked up at 0-0 with under two minutes to play, Sullivan was presented with a prime opportunity on Saturday to break the tie and advance to the Class 2 District 4 championship game on their home turf.
Instead, a devastating sequence followed.
Maddie Hines had a free kick 45 yards from the net and the Lady Eagles were positioned to attack.
Hines’ kick was never contested, with Owensville goalkeeper Alexis Altemeyer collecting the ball. The Dutchgirls took control and got the break they needed, scoring off a corner kick with 31 seconds remaining.
Sullivan would fall 1-0.
Players were emotional as they huddled around head coach Bill Kackley following the game. After falling to Owensville twice during the regular season, Kackley said they were one break away from getting the victory.
“I’m proud of their effort,” Kackley said. “They’re taking it hard. As seniors, they really wanted to be here Monday to play instead of work. They turned the season around and really bought in. They really felt confident about playing in the championship, which is great. Some years when school gets out or gets down, some of the players quit or are ready to get the season over. I felt the good vibe. We weren’t ready to get the season over. They’re taking it hard, which makes it hard for me.”
After winning just five games last season, Sullivan increased that total to 12 and Kackley said the seniors were a big part of it.
“I thanked them for turning it around and making it a better year,” he said.
Sullivan dominated possession on Saturday and the defense didn’t allow Owensville to get off good shots.
“I told them we outplayed them and we were the better team,” Kackley said. To game plan, he said he went to a tactic the boys team used against Hancock two seasons ago. The Lady Eagles were focused on stopping forwards Destinee Busenhart from scoring and Anna Finley from getting her the ball.
“When we played Hancock, they had two really good players,” Kackley said, explaining they had two players shadowing the primary scorer, with one running and chasing all over the field. They made sure one or two other players were around to disrupt the scorer from getting the ball.
Of the six goals Owensville scored against Sullivan, Busenhart had five. Sullivan successfully scuttled the Dutchgirls’ offense for nearly 80 minutes.
“They bought into the game plan,” Kackley said. “You could tell it really bothered (Owensville).”
Saturday’s game was played during a non-stop rain shower. The heavy rain was intermittent, but the drops didn’t stop falling until after the final whistle.
Kackley said the conditions were tough because the ball skips on the turf so much, “but it goes both ways, so we can’t complain.”
Owensville would get a free kick just six minutes into the game, with Madison Steever putting a shot on the net. The ball bounced off the hands of Sullivan goalkeeper Adrian Bell, but she corralled the ball and the Dutchgirls missed their best chance of the half.
Sullivan would get two corner kicks at the ninth and 10th minutes, then Hines had a free kick at the 11th.
At the 25th minute, Abby Wiegers had a shot deflect off the crossbar. The teams went into the half scoreless.
Sullivan would get a few more opportunities, including one late in the second half where players collided with Altemeyer, but the ball went out of bounds.
Owensville would get off a shot with 11 minutes to play that set up a corner kick. The Lady Eagles were ready for it and erased the opportunity.