By Pedro Velazco
For the Pharos-Tribune
— Last week, the girls soccer squads from Kokomo and Logansport staged one of their classic grudge matches, going into overtime before the Wildkats scored the decider.
Thursday night in Logansport, the Kats came out intense, and never let it get tense.
Kokomo beat Logansport 3-0 Thursday night in the opening game of the Class 2A Logansport Sectional. The Kats took control with a three-goal flurry in a six-minute span midway through the first half.
“I didn’t want this to be last year,” Kokomo coach Myles Geary said, referring to a loss to Logan in last year’s sectional. “[Last year we] beat them in the regular season and then come back and we don’t score a goal at all [in the sectional]. I was glad to see we just came out so ready.
“We were so relaxed, so calm, so focused on just winning the game. It was a weird intensity. It was like, ‘We’ve got this.’”
Kokomo (9-5-1) advances to face Marion at 1 p.m. Saturday for the title. Marion beat Western 11-1 in Thursday’s second semifinal.
Kokomo got on the board in the 21st minute. The Wildkats got a long throw into the Logansport box and Logan goalie Elaine Evanich clashed with a Kat for the ball, neither came up with it and the ball ricocheted to forward Cheyenne Eltringham, who finished into an open net.
With the wind at their backs, the Kats kept coming. Addy Takacs had a big rip saved by Evanich, and Taylor Sparling sliced a shot just out of bounds before the Kats hit the net again in the 25th minute. Takacs, playing in center midfield, played a short looping ball over the Logan defense to Holly Stewart. Stewart raced Evanich to the ball, just getting a touch to it as they crossed paths, guiding the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Eltringham then stole the ball straight off Logan’s kick off following the goal, and pressed into the heart of the Logan defense. Eltringham was fouled just outside the 18-yard box right in front of goal for a free kick. Spencer Wesche drilled the freebie into the left side netting for a 3-0 lead, just six minutes after the game’s opening goal.
“We just didn’t play very well,” Logan coach Todd Reiff said. “We just didn’t come out with the intensity of play like I anticipated we would. [The Kats] did, they came out strong. It was just like I told the girls, it was a matter of intensity and we didn’t match their intensity, for the majority of the game.”
Logansport forced Kokomo goalie Becca Wade into six saves but none a nail-biter. Evanich had seven stops in the Logan net.
“I think it’s more what we didn’t do,” Reiff said, explaining the outcome. “We played a game at New Castle on Saturday which was probably one of the most beautiful soccer games I’ve seen out of a Logansport team in a long time. I told the girls maybe we peaked a game too soon.”
The Berries close the season 7-8-1.
“We had a great group of seniors,” Reiff said. “I’m not going to sugar coat it: I anticipated not being in this position [out of the sectional]. At the beginning of the season, looking at the experience we had and who we had, I anticipated that we would be in a much different position than we are today. We had some great moments, we had some great efforts at times through lots of kids but [Thursday] night, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”