For a brief moment early in the second half it looked like Center Grove might have a shot to upset powerful Brebeuf Jesuit in girls soccer.
But the Class 3A No. 2 Braves scored two goals in less than 60 seconds to blow open a close match and pull away for a 5-1 win in a battle of two ranked teams.
For Trojan coach Mike Bishop, it was the classic case of a missed opportunity.
“We knew what we were in for. But not to take anything away — because they obviously blistered us tonight — but they’re not the team they’ve had in years past when even on your best nights you were just hoping to get something going,” Bishop said of Brebeuf. “But we made mistakes tonight, and they capitalized on them left and right, and it showed.”
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Center Grove, ranked 19th in the Class 3A poll, managed only three shots in the game — but trailed only 2-1 after a Piper Belden goal from short range in the 44th minute.
The score seemed to wake up Brebeuf, which responded quickly. Brianna Arthur scored her second goal of the game in the 48th minute, and 36 seconds later Hailee Pearson settled the ball and sent a long shot from 30 yards out over Center Grove goalie Ella Thompson for a two-goal lead.
The Braves added a final goal with 11 minutes to go on another long shot, this one by Sylvia Soria.
The Trojans battled hard during the final 30 minutes, but the damage had been done. And with Brebeuf’s strong and athletic defense controlling the field, Center Grove didn’t get many more chances.
“When you’re stuck playing defense, you lose the midfield. And it’s hard to get out if you’re trying to constantly attack the midfield,” Bishop said. “Unless you change your mentality and calm down, play it outside and spread it out, you just tend to do the same habits. We played panic ball.”
Brebeuf (2-0-1) opened the scoring 12 minutes into the game when Jordan Smith’s long, arcing shot beat a drawn-out Thompson, clearing the keeper’s head by nearly 10 feet. The Braves added a second score in the 26th minute when Arthur redirected Kayla Fitts’ shot from close range.
Center Grove (2-2) opened the second half with a strong attack, and it paid off when Belden snuck through the Brebeuf defense and hammered in the ball from five yards out to cut the Braves’ lead in half.
But that was as close as the Trojans got.
Overall, Brebeuf outshot the Trojans 13-3, including a 11-3 edge in shots on goal, and had four corner kicks to none for Center Grove.
Thompson had four saves in goal, while Kelti Wise had one in relief.