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Lady Cats push No. 3 HH in final

Lady Cats push No. 3 HH in final
Lady Cats push No. 3 HH in final
North Harrison's Emma Book, left, and Abigail Logsdon set up a wall next to Heritage Hills' Breigh Haas (1) as Lady Patriot midfielder Adrianna Oxley sets to take a free kick Saturday. Photos by Brian Smith

When the final whistle blew and the referee signaled time had expired, it was hard to tell who had won the Class A Heritage Hills Sectional title by non-verbals.
The usual jumping up and down, hugs and screams were minimal from the Heritage Hills sideline and 11 players on the pitch Saturday. On the opposite end, as North Harrison players exited the field, most of the players showed grins.
The Lady Cats made undefeated Class A No. 3 Heritage Hills earn it.
By converting a pair of penalty kicks, one in each half, Heritage Hills went on to defeat North Harrison 2-0 in the sectional championship.
‘We frustrated them, and that was our whole goal,’ North Harrison coach Jeff Butler said. ‘We’re so pleased with our season as a whole. We’re going to go into next season and have to be one of the favorites to win this thing.’
The steady improvement of the North Harrison girls’ soccer program has the Lady Cats on the rise. Finishing with an 11-4-2 record, the most wins for the program in a season, it was also the second consecutive year they’ve won at least 10 games.
‘The future is bright,’ Butler said. ‘It was awesome. I, honestly, wouldn’t be any happier if we won this thing. It’s a great group of girls.’
Heritage Hills was on offense much of the first half but had trouble getting quality shots on target. North Harrison freshman keeper, Abby Byerley, was up to the task. She was in goal for the second time this season. Regular goalie, senior Kayla Cash, missed the game due to taking a college standardized test.
‘We played a new keeper, and she played amazing,’ Butler said. ‘She never let a ball in other than the PKs. She even guessed right on those.’
A pair of early corners by the Lady Patriots were thwarted by Byerley. Heritage Hill’s Carolyn Burroughs fired a shot in the 10th minute that was headed away by defender Tayler Smith. From 18 yards out, Breigh Haas had a shot ring the cross bar for the Lady Patriots as well.
Midway through the first half, North Harrison started to see some opportunities. Midfielder Kaitlyn Butler chipped a pass over the defense, but Jessicka Chiquito was a hair off from beating the Heritage Hills keeper to the ball.
Inside seven minutes left in the opening half, Butler sent a diagonal ball through the box. Heritage Hills keeper Madaline Crews collided with North Harrison’s Kim Chiquito to prevent the scoring chance. Chiquito would leave the game for the rest of the half with an injury but later returned.
Earning the penalty kick in the 35th minute was the Lady Patriots when a North Harrison player was called for a handball in the box. Adrianna Oxley took the PK and went low right to score despite Byerley’s diving effort to deny.
The second half saw the Lady Cats get off a handful of quality opportunities. Jessicka Chiquito was fouled five yards outside of the box, but Kaitlyn Butler’s free kick was headed out.
Off a Cheyenne Byerley corner, Butler had another shot attempt blocked by a defender.
North Harrison’s best chance came on a break in the 55th minute. Butler’s pass ahead to Chiquito left her one on one with Crews after she beat the Heritage Hills back line. Her strike on goal was firm but knocked away by Crews.
Heritage Hills managed to out-shoot North Harrison 15-6 in the second half, but, defensively, the Lady Cats allowed few good chances.
‘That whole back line ‘ Emily (Nealy), Tayler, Lexi (Seitz), Cali (Nolot) ‘ everyone played well,’ Jeff Butler said. ‘In the (Heritage Hills’) game against Forest Park, they ran wild on the outside, and I feel we shut that down. We started five freshmen, and they all played great. Tayler anchored the defense back there.’
Heritage Hills earned another PK with 11 minutes to play when Kerragan Mulzer was fouled. Oxley took the penalty shot again, scoring to put the Lady Patriots up 2-0.
‘This was our game plan,’ Butler said. ‘We wanted to shorten the game and not let them score. We did exactly that. There were chances for us to score a couple of times. We had opportunities; we just weren’t lucky.’
Heritage Hills advances to host No. 1 Lawrenceburg in a one-game regional set for Saturday.
Holding the Lady Patriots (17-0-1) to two goals, both by PK, has Butler fired up for next season.
‘We’re two PKs away,’ Butler said. ‘I told the girls after the game they have to look at it as we should be the favorites next year and be confident that they are going to have to beat us next year. We had five freshmen playing that aren’t going to be freshmen anymore. It will be exciting.’
The Lady Cats graduate two seniors: Kim Chiquito and Cash.
‘We lose two seniors; that’s the only thing I’m sad about,’ Butler said.