By JON REITER
In piling up 26 goals in three matches en route to their third consecutive sectional championship, the defending Class A state champion Providence Pioneers girls’ soccer team combined the precision of a brain surgeon with the subtlety of a wrecking ball.
The Pioneers (11-4-2) very much looked like they might be the team to beat in this year’s tournament again Saturday, dispatching sectional host Switzerland County 10-0 in the Switzerland County Sectional championship match to advance to next week’s Providence Regional round against Heritage Hills.
“The girls are very under control, very patient, and very composed with the ball right now,” said Dave Smith, the coach of Class 2A No. 4 Providence. “It was all about possessing the ball, and being accurate with our chances today, and I think they did a pretty good job.”
Junior midfielder Kasey Wallace, who was named sectional Most Valuable Player, scored Providence’s first two goals within the first eight minutes of the contest, and the Pioneers tacked on five more times before halftime to take a 7-0 lead heading into intermission.
Providence added three goals in the first ten minutes of the second period to hit double-digits as freshman Emma Roesner’s goal made it 10-0 at 48:48.
Seven Pioneer players, including Wallace, made the all-sectional team. Midfielder Erin Duncan, defender Leah Mattingly, forward Jordan Reger, midfielder Grace Hess, midfielder Katie Barron and Roesner joined Wallace in hoisting the sectional trophy and on the team.
Not to be overlooked was the Pioneer defense, which held the Pacers to only one shot on goal. That shot, which was missed at left net by midfielder Morgan Kimmel midway through the second period, was only one of four aimed at Providence goalkeeper Autumn Meyer during sectional play.
Meyer wasn’t named to the all-tournament team — presumably she was the only goalkeeper in Indiana this week who notched three consecutive shutouts to open postseason play and didn’t.
It may be too early yet in postseason play to ask the question, but after such a dominant run in the early portion of the tournament, could the Pioneers repeat?
“I think we have a great chance this year, but we are a different team than we were last year,” said Maryashly Betz, a senior defender. “Teams are probably going to prepare for us like we were last year’s team, but that’s going to make it harder on them because are doing some things different.”
Barron, who notched a hat trick for the Pioneers by scoring two goals in the first period and one in the second, agreed with that assessment.
“Last year was a great season, but I don’t think we can compare this team to last year’s team,” she said. “We’re just trying to do our best out there - and have fun.”
Next Saturday’s match will be at Providence, but game time has yet to be decided.
CLASS A SWITZERLAND COUNTRY SECTIONAL
Providence 7 3—10
Switzerland County 0 0— 0
Goals — Providence: Katie Barron 3, Kasey Wallace 2, Jordan Reger 2, Leah Mattingly, Erin Duncan, Emma Roesner.
Assists — Providence: Alyssa Jones 2, Wallace 2, Mattingly, Reger.
Shots on Goal — Providence 15, Switzerland County 1.
Saves — Switzerland County: Lauren Haskell 5; Providence: Autumn Meyer 1.