All season long, Seymour High School girls soccer coach Greg Musser has stressed to his team that they’ve needed to believe in themselves.
To know that they can play with the top teams in the area.
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While the Owls may have put together the most complete 80 minutes for a game, they fell 2-1 to Floyd Central in the Sectional 15 Championship on Saturday.
The game proved a scorcher, as the temperature hovered around 90 degrees.
In the first matchup between the two teams, the Highlanders (15-3) beat the Owls 5-0: A stark contrast to the postseason contest.
“Floyd is a great opponent. Our message afterwards was ‘Why does it take a sectional final for us to want to play like that every game?,’” Musser said. “That will be the challenge we will take into next year. That was, by far, the hardest we have played all year and maybe the best we’ve played.”
In the first half, the teams battled back-and-forth in the midfield for the opening 30 minutes.
After a Highlanders goal was called back due to an offsides call, the hosts continued to put the pressure on to break the tie.
With just over under seven minutes until the break, Renee Sisloff launched a shot from almost 40 yards and got nothing but net to put the Highlanders up 1-0.
At intermission, the Highlanders maintained the one goal lead.
The Owls were able to get the offense rolling in the second half, but it took too long to get on the board.
Floyd built its lead to 2-0, with 1:42 left in the game, when Alli Kling finished a grounded cross from Audrey Brumfield in front of the net.
Seymour didn’t back down.
With 57 ticks left, Lillie Wessel led a long pass to teammate Aidan Hiester up the middle of the field. Hiester dribbled to the penalty mark before winning a one-on-one with Highlanders keeper Sofia Gianfagna.
While the Owls were able to cut into the lead, they ran out of time.
Musser said that the team played smarter in the second half.
“It was more just not trying to clear everything. We wanted to be more composed, and find more feet (on passes),” he said.”We had some opportunities, but couldn’t take advantage of that last pass. We challenged the girls at half. We needed to see some heart, and I think we did.”
Owls goalkeeper Kate Snook collected 12 saves.
The Owls finished 13-5-2 on their season. The program will graduate five seniors.
“We are right there with these teams,” Musser said. “We are right there with these regional teams. We just need to start velviing it. I think they started to today a little bit. The unfortunate thing is that we have months until we can get back on the field to retain that belief.”
Floyd will play in the Bloomington South Regional Saturday.