The showdown that failed to materialize last season at the Shelbyville girls soccer regional has definite possibilities this week.
First, Center Grove and Roncalli have work to do.
Ranked 19th in Class 2A, Center Grove must get past Franklin Central in today’s first semifinal. The Trojans defeated the Flashes 3-1 a year ago, then returned three days later to down Mt. Vernon in the regional finale 1-0 in overtime.
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Roncalli faces Greenfield-Central in the second semifinal, slated for a 7 p.m. start.
“Going into regional, it’s one of those weird deals where we’ve been up and down all year,” Center Grove coach Mike Bishop said. “The trick is how bad they want it. It’s the tournament, and there are no weak teams.
“Our players are going to have to play together and understand their roles. And can you get a bounce here or a bounce there?”
Senior midfielder Kelli Hippenmeyer has been the Trojans’ top offensive threat this season. She takes the field today having produced 13 goals and five assists.
Megan Perry, a sophomore midfielder, so far has eight goals to go along with a team-best seven assists. Junior Athena Passafiume, with seven goals and six assists, this season joins Gracyn Montfort (5 goals, 5 assists), Kailee Joseph (4 goals, 3 assists) and Emmie Ward (3 goals, 6 assists) as other options offensively.
Sophomore goalkeeper Ella Thompson averages 3.9 saves a game and has tallied 10 shutouts this season.
Roncalli wrapped up the ninth sectional championship in program history with last week’s shutouts of Perry Meridian and Decatur Central.
Third-year Rebels coach Maurice Schilten hopes for a better showing at Shelbyville tonight after watching his club drop a 4-2 decision to Mt. Vernon in the regional semifinal in 2015.
“We had an amazing season last year, so this team had big shoes to fill,” Schilten said. “We had big shoes to fill, but we’ve pretty much met expectations. I feel we’re more dynamic this season.
“Depending on how the opponent plays, we can make adjustments to kind of make it happen.”
Two of Roncalli’s key players, junior midfielder Kelly Grube and junior defender Maiya Mahoney, are Johnson County residents.
Grube’s seven goals are second only to Josie Asher’s team-high 16. Mahoney, the daughter of Franklin College men’s soccer coach Shaun Mahoney, has played a full 80 minutes in a dozen of the Rebels’ matches this season.
Center Grove (11-4-1) vs. Franklin Central (10-4-2), 5 p.m.
Roncalli (10-5-2) vs. Greenfield-Central (9-4-2), 7 p.m.
Championship, 5 p.m.