MARION – Bishop Dwenger dominated the Class 2A Marion girls soccer regional Saturday, outscoring its opponents 10-1 to punch its ticket to semistate for the second year in a row.
Saints sophomore midfielder Evelyn Harkenrider's goals bookended Bishop Dwenger's 3-1 win over Yorktown in the final. Less than nine minutes into the match, junior forward Callie Burns sent a cross into the box, and Harkenrider needed just one touch to tap the ball just inside the near post to give Bishop Dwenger (15-1) a 1-0 lead.
With just over 10 minutes left to play in the match, Harkenrider outpaced the Yorktown defenders as she raced down the left side of the field, and then chipped in a shot from the left side of the goal to put the Saints ahead 3-0.
“The second one was just having the confidence to beat your defenders and keep striving to the goal,” Harkenrider said. “It's important to keep striving. Even if it's 2-0, you never know what's going to happen.”
Indeed, the Tigers (16-1-1) still had a bit of fight in them after going down by three goals. With just over six minutes to play, senior midfielder Elizabeth Reece scored on the gorgeous shot from near the sideline to narrow the score to 3-1. But Yorktown did not seriously threaten to score again.
The second Saints goal came with 15:51 remaining in the first half.
A Tigers player kicked the ball straight into Saints senior defender Erynn Burns, but she followed the ricochet and quickly wrestled the ball from her opponent. Just before she reached midfield, she played the ball forward, where Callie Burns was marked by two defenders. Callie Burns quickly overtook the Tigers player who was closest to the pass when it landed, and Callie Burns ran the rest of the length of the field. As she closed in on the net, she shot over the diving goalkeeper and scored to put the Saints up 2-0.
“Erynn Burns played me a great ball through, and I just put it in my head that I needed to score for my teammates to move on,” Callie Burns said. “Placed it in the corner.”
The Saints will face Culver Academies (11-8) in the semistate, which will be played at either Kokomo or South Bend (to be assigned today). The Eagles beat West Lafayette 6-2 in the Plymouth Regional finals.
Bishop Dwenger beat Western (7-9) in the first match of the day at Marion, and Bellmont (10-4-2) was eliminated with a 1-0 loss to Yorktown in the second semifinal.
First-year coach Dwenger coach James McCaig said Harkenrider's early goal made the Tigers chance the Saints for the rest of the match, and that the Saints' possession and passes were, at times, close to perfect.
“It's taken some time. Looking back to our first game against Carroll, it's been a process,” McCaig said. “But in practice every single time, we're really working on the finer details. Working the different patterns, the movements, the options. These last few weeks, it's really started to click for them, which is nice.”