Girls soccer team takes on Carmel in semistate


Melissa Warner

Junior Taylor Wert kicks the ball during the team’s regional match against Roncalli.

Evan Neiswanger and Ethan McComb

After a promising regular season and postseason run, the Center Grove girls soccer team has found itself sitting in a position that few people expected. With a berth in the state championship on the line, the Trojans have a task which they have never before accomplished: beating Carmel.

Playing with some swagger and togetherness will be crucial in order for the Trojans to come out victorious Saturday afternoon. Senior striker Ali Wiesmann believes that Center Grove has all that it takes to get over the hump and take down the Greyhounds. 

“I’d say the environment we created during regular season games and practice is what will take us to the state championship. We’ve fought through very tough games and finished games out with a shutout, which is what overall has made us a better team,” Wiesmann said. “It has taught us and the younger players that we don’t quit no matter what during a game because it’s not over until the timer runs out. The fact that we have written family on our arms since the very first game creates an environment where everything we do is for our teammates, and no matter what we have each other’s backs.”

The last time Center Grove and Carmel faced each other during the regular season, the Trojans were shut out 2-0, the only time they were held scoreless all season. The Trojans defense is led by junior Kylie Smith, who understands that things have to change in the back line to keep the game level. 

“I think we have more organization and are more comfortable with our three-back, which will definitely help,” Smith said. “We should also have more help from our midfield in tracking players for more coverage.”

Center Grove’s starting goalkeeper, Sophia Gorall, has stayed active on her feet with 27 combined saves throughout 5 playoff games, only allowing one goal. Gorall acknowledges she’ll be facing a lot of ball pressure against her with Carmel’s attack. 

“Carmel’s attack is different from other teams I’ve faced in the tournament because they are very technical with the way they play, and they can manage to thread through the team and get to the goal,” Gorall said.

The Trojans have a 14-1 aggregate score through five games in the playoffs thus far, but they cannot allow that fact to cause them to play relaxed. A key component of the teams’ motivation and drive to win is realizing how rare it is for teams to compete in a game of this magnitude. Senior midfielder Molly Tapak is looking forward to competing in her first ever semi-state game and the first for Center Grove in four years.

“It is a huge deal for our team to reach semi-state,” Tapak said. “Especially with it being so long since we’ve made it this far in the tournament, we are all incredibly excited. No one on our team has ever played in a semi-state game, so that also adds to the excitement that we all have for Saturday.”