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Faced with Adversity, the Lady Eagles Never Gave Up

Aidan Kunst `20 reflects on the Lady Eagles incredible postseason journey to the Semi-State Soccer Championship:

As the rain fell at Semi-state, so did the tears. Not just from the players, who had given their all, but also from many of the fans; parents, students, grandparents alike. And it’s true, it was sad. The season was over, taken away by Park Tudor after they pulled away in the second half en route to a 3-0 win. Anger, frustration, grief, all the emotions were in play. But as Antoine Rivaroi once said, “heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.” This 2019 girls soccer team will go down in history not with tears, but with smiles, and they have earned it.

Going into this season, I really wanted to try to go to as many games as possible. I knew the team was good, and that we could potentially go very far. I ended up missing just two games all season, and I say this not to brag, but instead to explain how much I saw this team grow. I remember how in their first game, a 2-0 win over Pike Central, the team looked disjointed, erratic, standard protocol for the beginning of the season. But as the year progressed, the team began to come together, and by the time the postseason came around, they were a well-oiled machine. Then adversity struck.

Following a 15-0 drubbing of Tell City in the first round of sectional play, the Lady Eagles were faced with the prospect of playing Forest Park, a team new to their sectional and one playing at home. As if that weren’t tough enough, goalkeeper Lexi Slane broke her nose in practice the day before the final, worrying players and fans alike. The result? Center midfielder Ava Yune stepped in, and pitched a shutout as the Lady Eagles blew out Forest Park 3-0. Sectional champions. 

But unlike previous sectional-winning teams at EDS, this team wasn’t done. Regionals were up next, and beyond having to play two games in one day, both against ranked opponents, they were also without starting outside midfielder Elli Kissel, and Ava was staying in goal. Lexi moved to outside mid, having never played outside goalie the entire year, and Haya Allababadi, who had not yet completed a full game, played every minute of every postseason game. In this situation, where many other teams across all sports would fall flat, the Lady Eagles soared. They won the semi-final easily, and in the regional championship, Danielle Goebel put a free kick from way out in the back of the net with just five minutes remaining and the score tied. It would prove to be the regional-clinching goal. 

When that shot from Danielle, I have to admit I wasn’t exactly reflecting on it (I was jumping up and down, hugging everyone in sight). But looking back, the magnitude of that shot cannot go unnoticed. It sent Evansville Day School to the first semi-state in history, and it was an encapsulation of the entire season. These girls were never the biggest, strongest, or fastest. They don’t have the shiny field or the expensive jerseys. But all year, and especially in the postseason, they had incredible skill and the heart of champions. Through it all, they persevered, and they beat more athletic teams by playing smarter and playing harder.

That weekend in the parking lot at Seymour High School, the reason that it wasn’t just the girls who were crying, that it was many of the supporters, was this: we all knew how much heart and resiliency this team had, and we simply could not accept that their magical run was over. But given some time, it is now time not to mourn the loss, but instead to celebrate the great achievement. The Lady Eagles provided everyone a great deal of joy to the entire Day School family, and now it's time we recognize their hard work and incredible accomplishments. 

Lauren Goebel, senior: 31 goals, 6 assists

Danielle Goebel, senior: 24 goals, 28 assists

Cassidy Goebel, senior: 22 goals, 11 assists

Sierra Goebel, senior: 7 goals, 2 assists

Neha Bhasin, senior: 1 goal

MaKiya January, senior: 320 gk minutes, 3 saves

Lily Burke, junior: 5 goals, 5 assists

Suha Alhieh, sophomore: 8 goals, 3 assists

Ava Yune, sophomore: 1 assist, 240 gk minutes, 10 saves

Haya Allababadi, sophomore: 1 goal, 3 assists

Sabina Alcock, sophomore: 2 goals

Ellie Kissel, freshman: 4 goals, 3 assists

Bricelynn Shields, freshman: 1 goal

Maddie Retherford, freshman: 2 goals, 1 assist

Lexi Slane, freshman: 1 goal, 760 gk minutes, 45 saves