By TRIBUNE SPORTS STAFF
---- — Kokomo’s girls soccer squad got a natural hat trick from Taylor Coram, two goals from Katelyn Van Horn and a netter from Cheyenne Eltringham in a 6-1 victory at Western on Wednesday night. The Kats improved to 9-7.
Coram scored the game’s first three goals. She opened the scoring in the seventh minute, pouncing on loose change in the box after an Eltringham cross was deflected by Western goalie Cybil Johnson. Coram doubled the Kats’ advantage when she was put free on the left side and moved in for a finish from the left side in the sixteenth minute. Her third goal came a dozen minutes later when she was given space and time to shoot from the left side of the box, placing a shot to the far post.
“We’re really preaching on trying to beat [opposing defenders] 1 on 1, trying to communicate more from the backfield to encourage our offense to do it,” Kokomo coach Kevin Duggins said. “We’ve always praised our defense, now we’re trying to get our defense to encourage our offense because we feel that’s where a lot of our attacks have slowed down is not being motivated by the backfield.”
Eltringham made the score 4-0 Kats at halftime when she ripped up the right side, leaving Panther defenders behind her, and roofed a close shot from a bad angle in the 36th minute.
“Those two [Coram and Eltringham] obviously have such a strong shot,” Duggins said. “Coming into this season, we knew that Coram has put a lot of shots over the goal and I think this year she’s maybe put five total the whole season, and it’s purely because now that they’re beating one player and they’re trying to force themselves to get behind that defensive line and face the goalie, then now they can pass the ball [into the goal] instead of power it. I think that’s making a difference there.”
Duggins also praised midfielder Taylor Sparling for solid work on offense and defense.
Kokomo’s Katelyn Van Horn scored twice after halftime. In the 48th minute she moved in on the left side, kept control of the ball, and scored from close range despite not being able to shed her defender. Then in the 59th minute she banged home a loose ball on a corner kick.
Western (8-4) got on the scoreboard in the 76th minute. A well-taken corner kick by Sarah Connolly found Jenna Seaman for a nice one-time finish in the box.
“They have some really good ballhandlers and I think our defensive skills hurt us the most,” Western coach Nicole Jackson said. “I think we weren’t as prepared for Cheyenne and the team as we thought. I was very proud of [the Panthers]. I think this is probably the smallest loss we’ve had against them. I know the last couple years we’ve not scored against them.”
“I thought my seniors played well. This is their last game on this field.”
Western goalie Cybil Johnson had nine saves. Kokomo’s Catherine Skaggs had three.
EASTERN 6, TAYLOR 0
Savannah Rees scored a hat trick and Mikaela Malott scored once and dished out three assists as the Comets finished the regular season 12-2 overall and 5-1 in the Mid-Indiana Conference. Also for Eastern, Ciara Harden and Rachel Manfred each scored once, and Elena White and Manfred each had assists. Brooke Stout had one save.
“It was senior night so obviously all seniors played and we tried to work on our possession getting ready for sectionals, and move the ball around,” Eastern coach Chris Rees said. “Rachel Manfred stepped up and had a pretty good game. One of the seniors, who doesn’t always play a lot, has been getting more playing time, Chloe Unrein. She’s worked hard and she’s getting a lot of playing time at mid wing. She’s getting more and more confident, more and more comfortable and as a senior it was nice to see her step up.
“Ciara Harden, she played a lot of different positions [Wednesday]. Another senior that has grown for the four years, she starts on the left wing but she played a little bit of stopper and a little bit of sweeper, and got a goal.”
Taylor goalie Lydia Owens had 16 saves.
KOKOMO SECTIONALTAYLOR 5, TIPTON 0
Taylor eliminated Tipton and will face Northwestern (4-13) today in the sectional semifinal round.
Jack Lipchik won the No. 1 singles match 6-0, 6-1 for Taylor (13-3) and was the first Titan off the court. He improved to 17-2 on the season. Camden Kimbler won the No. 2 match 6-0, 6-0 and Casey Glick won the No. 3 match 6-2, 6-0. The No. 1 doubles team of Austin Douglas and Cole Schroeder won 6-0, 6-1, and the No. 2 team of Conner Leicht and Treaver Harris won 7-5, 6-2. Douglas and Schroeder are 17-2 as a tandem this season.
Taylor had defeated Tipton 4-1 in the first match of the season and dropped the No. 2 doubles point that day. Taylor won a close match at that spot on Wednesday.
“The thing that impressed me is my No. 2 doubles team, which had gotten beat [earlier in the season] came through and played really well the whole match,” Taylor coach Dave Wise said. “That’s a big win for us, for them to get that win. We’re just kind of looking forward to Northwestern right now.”
EASTERN 3, WESTERN 2
The Comets avenged a regular season loss to the Panthers with a win in postseason play. Eastern (10-11) advances to today’s semifinal round to face host Kokomo (6-12).
Eastern’s Logan Colwell defeated Brody Worl 6-3, 6-1 at No. 2 singles, while the Comets’ Robbie Walling was a 6-0, 6-0 winner over John Sullivan at No. 3 singles.
The Comets’ No. 1 doubles team of Austin Chase and Zach Walker was also a winner, posting a 6-1, 6-0 win over Justin Groothuis and Vito Pulverenti.
“One thing I’ve been saying all year is I have a lot of seniors, and when it gets down to tourney time and crunch time they’re fighting hard to win because they don’t want this to be over,” Eastern coach Nick Sale said. “That extra motivation pushed us in our matches. That experience helps out a ton, and I know Western had a young team. They battled us hard, but our senior leadership pushed us through [Wednesday]. All of our winners were seniors.”
At No. 1 singles, Western’s Judson Quinn downed Ryan Manfred 6-1, 6-0 to improve to 17-1 on the season. Quinn will advance into the individual tournament.
At No. 2 doubles, Western’s tandem of Luke Florek and Kaleb Howard took a three-setter over Daniel Pugh and Riley Haupert, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to cap an outstanding season. Florek and Howard finish the season 16-2 as a duo.
Western finishes the season 8-8.
“It was a learning experience for a young team, and hopefully something we can grow on,” Western coach Andrew Miller said. “Judson gets the consolation prize of moving on as an individual, and everyone else is coming back [next year], so we will have a chance to redeem ourselves after coming out tight. We didn’t play our best tennis and can learn from it. Congrats to Eastern. They played a great match. I worked with a lot of those kids [as Eastern’s previous coach], and they played excellent and deserve to move on.”
EASTERN DEF. ELWOOD 25-16, 25-17, 20-25, 17-25, 17-15
The Comets went deep into a fifth set to win the match at Elwood, improving to 15-7 in the process.
Lizzy Mavrick had 18 kills, 19 service receptions, 20 digs and 14 points for Eastern. Hannah Williams had 15 kills, six blocks, eight digs and 11 service points. Gabby Castillo had eight kills and 10 blocks. Quinlyn Hochstedler had 49 assists and seven blocks. Kinsey Duke had eight kills, 16 digs and seven service points. Courtney Clark had 20 service receptions and 20 digs. And Maddie Vint had 11 service points, nine service receptions and seven digs.
“I thought definitely in the first two and the fifth set we blocked extremely well,” Eastern coach Missy Mavrick said. “They weren’t able to run much offense. Our defense played really well. I feel like our hitters need to be more aggressive at times, but overall the girls once again fought to the end and were able to pull out the win.
“Something we need to work on is not getting comfortable after we get a lead, and we need to push to the finish.”
PERU DEF. WESTERN 24-26, 25-16, 25-15, 25-18
Amanda Seaman had 14 digs, eight kills and six blocks for Western. Shelby Gilbert had 11 digs. Bretta Tate had five kills. And Emily Jones had 11 assists. Western fell to 1-5 in the MIC.
“We came out ready to play fired up confident and then we fell apart making unforced errors,” Western coach Nicky Rodman said. “I had girls hitting the floor for balls and making kills where they needed to but we had about 20 balls served into the net or out. We’ve got to control those things if we want to finish out with a win. We’ve got to work on that in practice.”