Braves Ride To Victory Over Cougars In Soccer State Title Game

(with deepest apologies to Grantland Rice)

Outlined against a blue-gray November sky, the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore, they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction, and Death. These are only aliases. Their real names are MJ, A-Pod, E-Pod, and dH (OK, maybe that’s more like three horsemen and a Shetland pony with a bad attitude). They formed the crest of the Indian Hill cyclone before which a Lake Catholic Cougar team was swept over the precipice at MAPFRE Stadium Friday afternoon as 1500 (frozen) spectators peered down on the bewildering panorama spread on the green plain below.

(now, back to 2017)

If Mr. Rice were still here 93 years later, he’d have been privileged to witness to an equally compelling spectacle (and undoubtedly a more graceful and athletic one). Behind a Morgan Jackson balletic flick as she beat the LC goalie less than two minutes into the game, and a sweet cutback/touch/shoot goal by Anna Podojil with 7 minutes left in the first half, and a defense that bent slightly but never broke, the 2017 Braves capped an undefeated season with their first state title in school history.

On an afternoon that had both teams battling the elements (32 degrees at game time, with steady 10-12mph winds dropping the wind chill into the teens) as well as each other, the Braves came out hot, dominating the first 20 minutes. Morgan’s goal right off the bat, as she ran down a Margo David lob and just beat the LC goalie to the ball, gave the Braves an invaluable psychological boost. It was the 16th time this year that the Braves had scored in the first five minutes after kickoff.

It was 15 minutes in before goalie Kate Marrs got her first touch on the ball, and another 10 before LC got their first true looks at the goal: a cross that the defense batted around with Maddie Cech finally clearing with a diving kick along the left end line, and another cross that resulted in LC junior Keka Babic getting an open look from 15 yards which Kate barely had to move to catch.

From there, the two teams seemed fairly even, with the Braves backline snuffing out a couple runs by LC star Kati Druzina (a Notre Dame recruit), and LC’s short but athletic goalie Kennedy Solymosi keeping the Cougars in the game as she punched away one of Margo’s long bombs and a trio of point-blank re-directs by Anna Podojil. But with 7 minutes to go, A-Pod posted up on the right corner of the box, taking a short feed from Bea Fries and turning the defender, then taking a quick touch to her left to set up a left-footed strike from 10 yards out into the upper left corner of the net to put the Braves up 2-0. That’s where it would stay heading into the half.

But Lake Catholic did not reach the championship game by being a pushover. They came out in the second half fired up, and knocked the Braves back on their heels for most of the initial 10 minutes of the second frame. They kept Indian Hill back in their defensive third for much of that time (although Morgan got the first of her good looks of the half during that run). Kate made a nice save a few minutes in but had trouble handling a diving effort off a cross in front of the goal a minute later, the ball bouncing off her elbow and then off an LC forward, slowly bouncing towards the goal. But three Braves swooped in behind her, with freshman back Lauren Frey clearing the ball from a few feet in front of the goal, saving a score.

From there, the Braves seemed to get back on track. The next 15 minutes saw a fairly even game, with both sides mostly keeping the ball out of their defensive third, although the Braves did get Morgan open on run outs for a couple good looks that LC’s Solymosi made diving saves on. With 15 minutes left, and LC going with a three back line as they grew more anxious, things got a bit chippy. First, Claire deHamel made a nice step up and run through the midfield but then took down an LC player by the arm. A minute later, Druzina returned the favor laying Claire out from behind. That began a quick succession of LC fouls, as they took out Ellie Podojil twice and then Anna – this last one earning a yellow card for LC’s Kennedy Rieple. One of the resulting free kicks from Claire almost saw another Braves goal, as MJ and E-pod rose as one on the far post to head the ball in, only to have the LC goalie be perfectly positioned to intercept.

The last ten minutes saw both teams still fighting hard. The Braves continued to control the ball, although much of it was on their defensive half of the field. LC did have one last good opportunity, with a centered shot from less than 20 feet, but Kate was there again to snuff it out. E-Pod was everywhere as the clock ticked away, doing what she does best (which is pretty much everything). Those final 10 minutes showed just how well the Braves play as a team because no matter how hard LC pressed, a couple Braves would be on them. If it wasn’t Ellie winning every ball, it was Bryn WIrthlin cleaning up and controlling the ball. Or Bea picking off another pass. Or Maddie Miller making 30-yard throw-ins. Or Lauren playing like a senior. Or Dr. Cech and dH reading each other’s minds. Or Morgan and Anna coming back to help, showing again that the two best offensive players in Ohio are two outstanding defenders as well. Or Margo fighting through a leg injury to show her all CHL form. Or Ashleigh Prugh coming off the bench to make things happen all game. And the most talented bench in Indian Hill history pushing them on, just as they had done all year. And...that rookie goalie: the experiment turned out pretty well, eh Venus??

As the last seconds ticked off, and the ladies sprinted, screaming, towards a pile of their teammates, 60-plus years of Braves fans celebrated, extra proud to “always be a Brave”.

NOTES: The Braves finished with their best record ever at 22-0-1, the only undefeated team in the State of Ohio, and the team’s first ever undefeated season. This is their first title (the Braves also reached the Final Four in 2003, 2004, 2010, 2012, and 2015, with title game appearance in 2003 and 2004). The team set a school record for goals with 114 ( the record was 87) and allowed only one goal in 7 tournament games (not including the Waynesville shootout). The Braves outshot LC 14-5 and 10-4 with shots on goal. Kate Marrs finished with 4 saves to LC’s 10.

The team will celebrate their season with a team banquet and awards night on December 7th. A DVD of the championship game will be available in a few weeks...visit the Ohio High School Athletic Association website & the soccer home page for more information on ordering (or ask Amy Dunlap).

Coach Dunlap's Practice Schedule

2017 Girls Soccer Team Photos

CHL Girls Soccer Statistics

Girls Soccer Records

  SEASON GOALS      
Rank Name   Season Goals
1 Anna Podojil   2017 38
2 Morgan Jackson   2017 34
3 Anna Podojil   2016 31
3 Brooke Rogers   2004 31
5 Annie Schenck   1997-8 26
5 Jenna Kereiakes   2001 26
5 Elizabeth Slattery   2011 26
8 Morgan Jackson   2015 22
8 Jenna Kereiakes   1999 22
8 Tricia Craig   1987 22
8 Brooke Rogers   2005 22
12 Brooke Rogers   2006 21
 
  CAREER GOALS      
Rank Name   Years Goals
1 Anna Podojil   2015-P 89
2 Morgan Jackson   2014-2017 78
3 Brooke Rogers   2003-2006 77
4 Annie Schenck   1995-1998 76
5 Jenna Kereiakes   1998-2001 70
6 Elizabeth Slattery   2009-2012 66
7 Amanda McCaw   2000-2003 52
8 Meredith Snow   2004-2007 38
9 Taylor Jackson   2010-2012 35
10 Paige Gloster   2010-2013 34
11 Kaeli Flaska   2008-2010 33
12 Shaedyn Cousino   1995-1998 30
  SEASON ASSISTS      
Rank Name   Season Assists
1 Lisa Tecklenburg   1998 22
2 Morgan Jackson   2017 19
3 Annie Schenck   1998 18
4 Anna Podojil   2017 17
4 Lisa Tecklenburg   1997 17
6 Annie Schenck   1997 16
6 Meredith Snow   2007 16
6 Erin Schmitt   2001 16
9 Ellie Podojil   2016 15
9 Kristen Ellis   2001 15
9 Maddie Slattery   2011 15
12 Ellie Podojil   2017 14
12 Anna Podojil   2014 14
12 Claire Kenny   1999 14
 
  CAREER ASSISTS      
Rank Name   Years Assists
1 Annie Schenck   1995-1998 53
2 Morgan Jackson   2014-2017 47
3 Anna Podojil   2015-P 42
4 Lisa Tecklenburg   1995-1998 39
5 Meredith Snow   2004-2007 37
6 Erin Schmitt   1999-2001 36
6 Elizabeth Slattery   2009-2012 36
8 Paige Gloster   2010-2012 35
9 Shaedyn Cousino   1995-1998 34
10 Brooke Rogers   2003-2006 33
11 Jenna Kereiakes   1998-2001 31
12 Maddie Slattery   2008-2011 30
         
         
     
  SEASON SHUTOUTS      
Rank Name Season Shutouts
1 Katie Markesbery   2010 18
2 Ellie Schaub   2015 14
2 Sarah Wiggers   2003 14
4 Olivia Ribariu   2011 13
4 Lauren Harris   1995 13
6 Lexi Carrier   2012 12
7 Missy Meyers   2000 11
8 Sarah Wiggers   2004 10
8 Liz Hilberg   1999 10
8 Lisa Iacono   2002 10
8 Ashley Daniels   2008 10
8 Katie Markesbery   2009 10
 
  CAREER SHUTOUTS      
Rank   Name   Years   Shutouts
1 Ellie Schaub   2013-2016 37
2 Sarah Wiggers   2002-2005 35
3 Katie Markesbery   2009-2010 28
4 Liz Hilberg   1997-1999 27
5 Lauren Harris   1993-1996 26
5 Ashley Daniels   2005-2008 26
7 Missy Meyers   1999-2001 23
8 Lisa Iacono   2000-2002 21