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Tigers shutout Chargers on Senior Night

LINDEN — Senior Night for North Montgomery’s girls soccer team didn’t go as planned in  a 3-0 loss to Lebanon.

The Chargers fall to 9-5-1 for the season and finish the Sagamore Conference with a 3-4 record. The Tigers finish conference play at 5-2 and have a 9-4 overall record.

After a scoreless first half, the Chargers had one that just missed that might have changed a lot of what happened later.

With 10 minutes gone in the half, North got a man advantage heading into the offensive zone.

The loose ball bounced once or twice off some bodies, and then Nina Gable had the ball on her foot left of the goal.

The freshman’s solid kick hit the upright squarely, and the threat was ended.

Five minutes later, the Tigers got a goal when Lizzie Hart found Kirstin Byrd open for the first score of the match.

“We played a great first half,” North coach Julie Hodges said, “ and then that shot hit the upright. If Nina’s shot had gone in, it would have been a huge momentum swing for us.”

As it was, the Chargers had to play from behind, and the Tigers, who lead the Sagamore in fewest goals allowed, weren’t letting the home team close again.

“North played us really hard,” Lebanon coach Nick Hyatt said. “They made it really difficult for us in the first half. We got a little sharper in the second half.”

It was the speed and depth of the Tigers that made part of the second-half difference.

“They are a fast team,” Hodges said. “They snuck that first one through us, and then we lost some possessions later. We played a solid 60 minutes, and you have to take advantage of your opportunities against a team like Lebanon. They won’t give you double-digit shots. Our movement was good and we had a couple good shots.”

The Tigers got an unassisted goal from Lilly Haines at the midpoint of the second half and a last, unassisted goal by Byrd in the last 20 seconds to set the final score. Lebanon had 16 shots on North goal keeper Regina Dodds.

North had six shots on Tigers goal keeper Alyssa Downs, who logged the clean sheet.

The Chargers honored their five seniors, Caroline McClaskey, Lillia Mitchell, Hayley Maze, Ellie Sennett and Bri Murray,  before the match.

“Look at what these five seniors have been part of,” Hodges said. “When they were freshmen we won a single match, and this season we have set a school record for wins. All five of them have been a big part of the success we are now having, and their leadership will be part of the success we have in the future. Their leadership across the field, from offense to defense, is their hallmark. They will be missed.”

Both teams have a match left before entering sectional action next week at Crawfordsville.

The Tigers have a Saturday morning match at Covenant Christian, and drew the bye in the sectionals. They will play Crawfordsville in the second match next Thursday.

“I think we are in good shape for the tourney,” Hyatt said. “We got Haines back from an injury, and our depth is a strength. We just have to execute against Crawfordsville and get used to the speed on the turf.”

The Chargers travel to Indy to play International today at 5:30. They face Frankfort in the second match of the sectionals next Tuesday.

“We are playing well heading into the tournament,” Hodges said. “We had a quality win Tuesday, and played well tonight. I’d love to win a couple to see if we get Lebanon again in the finals.”

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