It took Trinity Lutheran’s girls soccer team just 21 seconds into the game to score their first-ever goal in postseason play.
Following the starting whistle, Cougars sophomore Maddie Roark dribbled 40 yards down the left sideline and slotted a left-footed shot past Southwestern’s goalkeeper to give Trinity a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars never let up in their inaugural Lawrenceburg Sectional matchup, cruising to a 6-1 victory against the Rebels.
“They were really excited,” Cougars coach Jeff Nolting said. “They just played really good team soccer out there. We set the tone early when (Roark) scored early. From there, we settled in on our positions. We played smart and passed the ball really well. We did a lot of good things.”
Roark now has 36 goals on the season, as she netted four scores in the contest.
At 27:59, Cougars freshman Maddie Bell gave her team a 2-0 advantage by slotting a shot in the middle of the box off a cross from Roark.
Roark tallied her second goal on the night by taking the Rebels defense one-on-one, dribbling 30 yards and netting a shot from the penalty kick line with 25:41 left in the first half.
After intermission, Roark punched in a goal off an assist from sophomore Lucy Cooper to put the Cougars up 4-0.
The Rebels notched their lone score near the 26th minute in the final half to cut the deficit to three goals.
Bell cleaned up a shot in the box and Roark capitalized on another one-on-one matchup to tally the final two goals in the final 20 minutes.
In the match, Nolting shifted some of his players around to better contain the Rebels’ Kayla Adkins, Taylor Cole and Emma Foley — the strongest players on the opposition.
“We moved some people around and match up with some speed,” Nolting said. “They were quick and had good speed. Overall, in the second half we tried some different positions.”
The Cougars out shot the Rebels 18-10 on the night.
Nolting commended his Cougars for their possession in the back and middle thirds of the field.
“It was probably some of the best possession we’ve had all year,” Nolting said. “We tried to move the ball as a unit instead of just attacking. We missed a few easy ones, but the girls did a nice job.
“It’s just stuff we’ve been working on all year and it all came together. Our defense played extremely good. Emily Lang and Sabrina Vierling were really connecting tonight (on defense). They were good at not keeping the players and ball in front of them.”
In goal, junior Hailley Peters collected six saves for the Cougars.
Nolting said that his girls have a lot of confidence moving forward.
“It was great to see all the support we had,” he said. “The boys team came and there were a lot of parents. The girls really appreciated it. They’re excited, and we’re playing with a lot of confidence — that’s a key right now.”
Thursday, the Cougars (8-7) will play South Ripley in the semifinals.
“We saw a little bit of the South Ripley game (against Switzerland County) prior to our match and didn’t see anything we were concerned about,” Nolting said. “They beat Southwestern 4-3 earlier in the season. (However) you never want to be over confident. We will go out there and play hard and hopefully get to the finals on Saturday.”