Cougars advance to sectional finals


It took a little extra time, but the barrage of shots finally broke through.

Trinity Lutheran’s girls soccer defeated Southwestern (Hanover) 2-1 in overtime Thursday to punch their ticket to Saturday’s Class A Providence Sectional Championship match.

The Cougars (7-7-1) shelled the Rebels with 18 shots in the game, and Chloe Criswell came up with the game winning goal to break the 1-1 tie with 4:04 left in the first OT.

In the first half, the Cougars came out with aggression.

In the 5th minute, Sidney Hoene took a shoot from 10 yards off a Flossie Cooper corner kick and found the back of the net to put Trinity up 1-0.

The Rebels knotted the game in the 32nd minute, as Emma Foly crossed a ball into the center of the box to Taylor Cole. Cole took the ball on one touch and slid it past Cougars keeper Vidalis Montanez.

While the Cougars dominated the second half, playing most of the 40 minutes in the Rebels’ back third of the field, they couldn’t get a shot to go.

However, the pressure the Cougars put on the Rebels would pay off.

Savanna Setty won a ball just outside the Rebels’ 18-yards box, chipped it over the defense and found Criswell on the run down the middle.

Criswell direct the ball past Rebels keeper Kate Sampson for the go-ahead goal.

With the lead, the Cougars ran out the clock in the second overtime.

“We didn’t want to go to a shootout,” Trinity coach Jeff Nolting said. “Our pressure up top was just so good tonight we knew that with the pressure one would eventually break through.”

Trinity limited Southwestern to seven shots in the game.

Montanez collected two saves and Sampson grabbed 18 for the Rebels.

Nolting said the team put together a solid match.

“Our passing was some of the best we’ve had,” he said. “We were passing to feet and to space. We were making good touches. Everything was just really solid tonight.”

The Cougars will play the winner of Thursday’s late game, between Providence and Christian Academy of Indiana, at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Trinity lost to Providence 9-0 on Aug. 14 — the first game of the season — and beat CAI on Sept. 12 4-3.

“The girls have worked really hard this well,” Nolting said. “If you’re going to peak, now is the time to do it. We’re feeling pretty good.