G. Michael Graham Photo. Newport Central Catholic's Michaela Ware (white) and Beechwood's Madison Williams go after the ball in Saturday's game while teammates converge. NewCath won 5-0 to win the All "A" 9th Region crown at Farris Park.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
COVINGTON – It has been a while since the Newport Central Catholic Lady Breds soccer team has been to the All “A” State Tournament.
NewCath took a step closer to making it to Elizabethtown with a 5-0 victory over Beechwood at Farris Park on Saturday. NewCath advances to the Sectional contest against either Paris or Bishop Brossart after the regions were separated this year. The two play for the 10th Region crown on Sept. 7. NewCath captured three straight All “A” state titles from 2005 to 2007.
That is mostly because NewCath has played in the same region with the St. Henry Lady Crusaders. St. Henry had won the previous five 9th/10th Region All “A” Tournaments and even captured the All “A” state titles in 2008, 2009 and 2011 in addition to winning the overall state championship in 2010 to go with All “A” State runner-up finishes in 2010 and last year to Lexington Christian.
But St. Henry chose not to partake in the All “A” Tournament this year. Scheduling may have been the big issue.
“The All ‘A’ is tough to schedule because you have to keep three games open for Elizabethtown if you feel like you have a team that can go deep,” said Kevin Turnick, NewCath Head Coach. “You can get the three games, lose the three games or try to finagle a schedule where you can work it out with another school that says, ‘I’ll play you later on down the road if I don’t get to the All ‘A.’ You just somewhat manage your schedule. I think we’re going to keep our game with Beechwood and we hope Villa Madonna does the same just in case we don’t get down to Elizabethtown. It all depends on what you want to do. In my experience, we’ve gone down there and beaten teams 6, 7 or 8-0. In the end of the year, what is that really doing?”
Freshmen forward Taylor Tolle led NewCath with a hat trick of three goals and junior midfielder MiKayla Seibert scored the other two. Tolle credited her teammates for getting her in position to score.
“(My teammates) were making good through passes and switches (to the middle of the offensive box),” Tolle said. “You just have to get to an open spot, not get offsides, try to get past the defenders and punch it through.”
The Lady Breds outshot the Lady Tigers, 18-5. NewCath goalkeeper Meg Martin saved all five Beechwood shots and Cara Schwartz recorded 13.
NewCath did a good job defensively in front of Martin. The Lady Breds booted out all the balls that entered their defensive box.
“We make sure we have our marks on the outside,” said Erin Ackerson, NewCath junior defender. “If (opponents) have a person in the center, we make sure we stay on them so they can’t any through balls over. It’s about keeping tight in the defensive third (of the field).”
The Lady Breds played without six key players Saturday. Three seniors were already out in Sam Bunzel, Amanda Schabell and Caroline Kinnett. Kinnett is out for the year with Bunzel and Schabell possibly returning soon.
Then during the game, Chandler Cain, Allie Otten and Donnelly Simmins came out because of either injuries or heat exhaustion. All could return soon.
The temperatures hit the 90s Saturday. But NewCath covered its bench to give the players and coaches shade while Beechwood’s bench was shaded by trees. The teams played four 20-minute sessions because of the heat.
“I was definitely concerned about the safety on both sides,” Turnick said. “The younger kids stepped up. We tried to get into a rhythm of keeping possession and not running all over the place. We also tried to get as many subs in as we could in critical spots to keep people fresh.”
Tolle scored her first two goals a minute into the game and with 22:15 remaining in the first half. Seibert received her first goal toward the end of the half by booting a corner kick that Schwartz tried to play. But it went off her into the goal.
NewCath put the game away in the second half. Seibert scored her second goal with 16:45 left in the game and Tolle added her final one with 8:15 left.
“That (second-half run) was critical because in our semifinal game against Villa (Madonna) and even going back to our game against Ryle on Monday, the confidence somewhat dropped when we started losing some starters,” Turnick said. “Things fell apart. On Thursday, we took a different approach to practice and kind of shocked the players some. We wanted to make sure the reason they’re here to play soccer is the energy and passion of playing. Beechwood is not a bad team. We kept things simple and we played the way we’re used to playing.”
NewCath travels back to Farris Park to face Holy Cross on Wednesday. Game time is 5 p.m.
Highlands 6, Walton-Verona 0:
The Bluebirds (2-2) held the Bearcats without a shot in a Saturday afternoon contest at Tower Park.
Andrew Barnes, Cole Davis-Roberts, Nathan Tippenhauer, Jimmy Penrod and Vadim Lightner all scored for Highlands. Teammate Jordan Jarvis tallied two assists with Penrod, Logan Groneck and Eric Schurr making on each.
Highlands travels to defending 9th Region champion Boone County on Tuesday. Game time is 8 p.m.