ARCADIA — Boasting a large class of 11 seniors and a wealth of experience on the field, Eastern’s girls soccer squad pointed to this season as a year for a breakthrough.
That breakthrough never came Thursday night and the Comets (13-3) had to settle for the knowledge that they’d made progress. Eastern was never able to breach Sheridan’s defenses and force goalie Amanda Summe into an uncomfortable moment. Sheridan won 1-0 to set up a date with two-time defending sectional champ and host Hamilton Heights in Saturday’s final.
“I did tell them how proud I was,” Eastern coach Chris Rees said of his squad’s postgame talk. “I said, ‘You know what? I want to win them all, but sometimes that doesn’t happen happen and if we play well, I’m happy.’ That was a tough team. That was a team that beat us 4-0 in the season. Their only goal [Thursday] came off a mistake early on in the midfield and they got a good run on us and made a good shot and a good goal.
“They did not beat us, I don’t feel like. I think our girls played, they were aggressive. They were a team that beat us 4-0 and I think we showed that we’re a better team than that.”
Sheridan (12-4-1) went up in the 16th minute when forward Katie Hybarger put the only dent in the scoreboard. She got free on the near right wing and had space to line up a shot from a tight angle. She looped a shot over Eastern goalie Brooke Stout and her effort nestled high into the far side netting for the winner.
After that, Sheridan kept attacking, forcing a total of a dozen saves from Stout, but also found itself under constant pressure from Eastern’s pesky defenders who intercepted passes or got on offensive players the instant she received a pass.