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Diametric decisions

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Connersville’s Kelsey Smith tangles with Delta’s Addie Chester (8) at Spartan Field on Wednesday afternoon. Tasked with defending Chester,the leading scorer for the Lady Eagles with23 goals, throughout Wednesday’s contest, Smith limited the freshman striker to one goal, helping the Lady Spartans earn a 7-1 victory.
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Connersville senior Elise Bottomley takes the ball downfield in CHS’ game against visiting Delta on Wednesday evening. Bottomley scored four goals to lead the Lady Spartans in their charge against the Lady Eagles. Connersville won the game 7-1.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

In a span of 24 hours, the Connersville girls soccer team ran a gamut of emotions on Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

On Tuesday night, the Lady Spartans defeated Shelbyville, winning the 3-2 contest on a goal by Maddie Gregory with 13 seconds left to play in the game. Connersville came from behind in the contest, trailing 1-0 and 2-1, before claiming the win.

On Wednesday night, this time facing Delta, things weren’t nearly as dramatic.

Elise Bottomley scored four times, and Connersville cruised to an easy 7-1 victory.

“We have been through two totally different games in the last two nights,” Connersville coach Jeff Cooley said, adding with a big smile, “This one is certainly easier on the heart.

“It really doesn’t matter though, it’s two victories and three in a row for the girls, which is excellent.”

There was one similarity between the two games, and it was that Connersville trailed, as talented freshman Addie Chester put Delta on the scoreboard early, taking the ball nearly the length of the field, before punching it past goalie Jessica Beckman.

But the Spartans didn’t trail for long.

Following Chester’s marker at the 34:50 mark, Connersville poured itself into an attack of its own, the home team tying the game with 33:29 left in the half on a kick from Gregory.

“The girls didn’t panic,” Cooley said. “We knew that Addie Chester was a really good player, and we actually thought that she might get more than one goal tonight.

“But that didn’t happen, and you really have to credit Kelsey Smith as the reason for that. She did an outstanding job marking her through the entire night. Chester has scored five and six goals in some games this season, so I really cannot say enough about the job that Kelsey did keeping her out of the goal.”

Coming into the game, Chester was the scoring leader for the Eagles, responsible for 23 goals on the season.

But on Wednesday, it was Bottomley who ripped the opponent’s net, pretty much at will.

Beginning with a penalty kick at the 33:03 mark, the CHS senior scored four unanswered goals, her last coming with 20:40 left to play in the half.

“Our girls stuck to the game plan,” Cooley said. “We knew that we could take advantage of some of the long balls and we also knew that we would be able to get through their defense.

“Tonight, as opposed to last night, we finished shots,” he continued. “Last night, we had a lot of shots that we should have finished. Had we done that, it would not have been as close as it was. Tonight, we had a much higher percentage finishing our shots.”

Molly Crank added a score, the final netter in the first half, giving Connersville a 6-1 advantage at halftime.

In spite of the large cushion, Cooley warned his charges that there was another half to play.

“I told the girls that the game was not over,” he said of his halftime message. “I then reminded them about last night, and how we came back to win that one. They understood what I was saying, believed me, and maintained their intensity, keeping the ball on their half through the first 20 minutes or so.

“Once we got it down to 20 minutes, it was pretty much our game at that point.”

Connersville’s final tally came courtesy of Elise Matney’s foot, the CHS sophomore creating the final margin with 11:02 left to play in the game.

The Spartans finished with a whopping 30 shots in the game, led by Gregory’s seven attempts. She was followed by Bottomley with six and Crank with five.

By contrast, Delta managed only eight shots, three of them turned away by Beckman.

“We did a good job possessing the ball tonight,” Cooley said. “As a result, we kept the ball on their end of the field for much of the game. They kept looking for their outlet, Chester, but Kelsey had her covered, so they appeared to be unsure how to start their offense without her.”

He added that the effort in the middle of the field played a part in the over all success in the contest, as well.

“Tonight was really big for us,” he said. “Our midfielders Claire (Kleve), Elise (Matney), Maddie and Kelsey run miles during these games. Last night, they put in a shift of probably four or five miles, and tonight they did the same. Now, tomorrow (Thursday at Anderson) we’re going to ask them to put in another four or five miles. 

“Doing that three nights in a row is a really hard thing to ask, but I am pleased that they’re out there doing that, and I am so proud with their effort, intensity and execution.”

Connersville (5-2-2) is next in action, playing at home against Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe Batesville at 10 a.m. on Saturday 

LADY SPARTANS 7, LADY EAGLES 1

(at Spartan Field)

Delta 1 0 — 1

Connersville 6 1 — 7

Scoring

First half

DHS — Addie Chester kick, Gavrielle Hearn assist; 34:50

CHS — Maddie Gregory kick; 33:29

CHS — Elise Bottomley penalty kick; 33:03

CHS — Bottomley kick; 24:52

CHS — Bottomley kick; 22:45

CHS — Bottomley kick; 20:40

CHS — Molly Crank kick; 8:11

Second half

CHS — Elise Matney kick; 11:02

Team statistics

Shots on goal — Delta 8 (Addie Chester 7, Gavrielle Hearn 1). Connersville 30 (Maddie Gregory 7, Elise Bottomley 6, Molly Crank 5, Elise Matney 3, Claire Kleve 2, Molly Rose 2, Victoria Metcalfe 2, Morgan Dafler 2, Brittney Bottomley 2).

Goalie saves — Delta 15 (Allison Bell 15). Connersville 3 (Jessica Beckman 3).

Penalties — Delta 2 (Allie Todd, yellow; Brytany Pope (coach), yellow).