PENDLETON — After a dominating win to reach the sectional semifinals in the Hamilton Southeastern girls soccer sectional, the Arabians had to face defending champion and current No. 1 team in the state, Noblesville.
The Millers put the Arabians out of contention with a 7-0 win in the Oct. 7 matchup.
With Noblesville’s ability to rotate players on a constant basis, the Arabians were facing fresh fast legs throughout the game.
“They’re the real deal,” Coach Mark Davy said. “It’s tough trying to hang in there when you’re fresh and you get a little tired and they get a new rotation in, and those girls are fresh.”
Davy said the Millers’ speed and ability to rotate players so often is where he wants the Arabians to be. “It’s a big gap we need to overcome.”
Davy said the score didn’t show what they were able to do against the Millers. Senior goalie Kieli Ryan played the entire 80 minutes and had 16 saves for the game.
“The score doesn’t show it, but we held our own, and that’s a big thing,” Davy said.
With a 10-6-1 season record (5-2, Hoosier Heritage Conference), the Arabians went through a growth in their program from their previous season.
“The biggest thing was the chemistry. We talked about the team being more important than the outcome of the game,” Davy said.
He said once the team atmosphere is there, the wins will come.
“They bought in and took it to heart, and it was great to see.”
He said the way the juniors and seniors brought the others along was a major factor in how their season went this year.
“These are the teams we want to compete with and we have to compete with. We have to be willing and able to step up and take that challenge on,” Davy said.
During the halftime, he told them he was proud of how they were able to step against the tough competitors.
Looking to next season, Davy said his Arabians will have to get back to the weight room to get stronger. They need to get faster and get good touches on the ball.
He said with the eighth-graders who will be coming up and the returning players, the Arabians can look to another successful season.