BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – Northwestern High School and its new synthetic turf football/soccer field hosted the finals of the 2017 Hoosier Conference Girls Soccer Tournament. After four games on a smoldering hot Sept. 23, the Red Devils of West Lafayette walked away with the championship trophy, much like its boys team did two weeks earlier. Class 2A No. 16 West Lafayette defeated Class 1A No. 4 Lafayette Central Catholic 2-1 in the title match – Anneliese Givan and Catalina Posada scored first half goals for the Red Devils.
The Red Devils advanced to the championship match after a hard-fought 3-0 victory over Class 1A No. 9 Northwestern – but the game was much closer than the score indicated. West Lafayette jumped to a quick 2-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of action as Caroline Sautter found the net at 31:08 and less than two minutes later Givan scored. The next 65 minutes of action were all about the defense as neither squad found the back of the goal. Givan scored a late goal for the three-goal victory.
In the second semifinal, LCC battled Hamilton Heights to a scoreless first half before Lindsey Kiracofe and Hailey Fallon gave the Knights a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals 10 minutes into the second half. Elaina page drew Heights within a goal at 16:07, but that was all of the scoring either team would have.
In the third-place game, Hamilton Heights jumped to a 1-0 lead on Northwestern when Maia Noller one hopped the goalie from 40-yards out midway through the first half. It took the Tigers nearly 50 minutes to score, but Olivia Hale hit a penalty kick to tie the game at the 31:28 mark of the second half. Ashlyn Johnson put the Lady Tigers in the lead six minutes later, and Hale sealed the win with 16 minutes left with her second goal.
Northwestern advanced to the Final Four of the Hoosier Conference tournament thanks to an opening round 3-0 victory over Western. The Lady Panthers then posted a pair of shutouts to claim fifth-place in the conference. The squad defeated Benton Central 5-0 with Brooklyn Garber scoring two incredible goals off her own corner kicks – Hannah Granfield also scored twice and Sophie Weigt once. Western also topped Twin Lakes 2-0 with goals from Garber and Weigt.
Final standings: 1. West Lafayette (9-5), 2. Lafayette Central Catholic (8-5-2), 3. Northwestern (10-4-1), 4. Hamilton Heights (7-6-2), 5. Western (14-2), 6. Twin Lakes (6-5-3), 7. Tipton (5-6-2), 8. Benton Central (3-7), 9. Rensselaer Central (3-9-1). Lewis Cass does not support a soccer program.