Lady Titans fall to Memorial in Sectional Championship

The Tigers shutout Gibson Southern girls’ soccer 4-0 to claim the Sectional title


Macey Wilson

Senior Kaleigh Baehl moves the ball down field against Forest Park earlier this season.

The Evansville Memorial Tigers held the Gibson Southern Titans scoreless in the class 2A Girls’ Soccer Sectional 32 Championship at Memorial on Saturday, Oct. 8, with a final score of 4-0. The Lady Tigers continued their undefeated season and advanced to Regional, also hosted at their home field.

“We knew who we were going up against and how talented they are,” said Lady Titans’ soccer head coach Sylvia Adler. “Our goal was to keep challenging ourselves and fighting through the toughest game that we would play all year. I told the girls that no matter what the outcome of the game, if they keep fighting the full 80 minutes and play hard, they should come off that field proud of themselves.”

The Evansville Memorial girls’ soccer team is ranked third in the country according to MaxPreps. The Lady Titans knew they would have to play exceptionally well on the Tiger’s home field to secure a Sectional Championship. 

“Going into it, we knew it was going to be very tough, and we’d have to play differently than we were used to,” said the Lady Titans’ leading scorer junior Ella Jones. 

The Titans were not demoralized after the first half, even though they found themselves trailing 2-0. 

“At halftime, the girls had great attitudes to finish the game regardless of their bodies being so tired,” Adler said. “We are very proud of the team.” 

Holding the third team in the nation to a four-point game was an encouraging take-away from Saturday’s game. The Titans took only one shot on the goal; however, junior goalkeeper Chloey Graham had 30 saves.

“My goal was to stop as many as I could and limit their scoring so we could have a chance,” Graham said. “Of course, I gave it my all because I wanted to win, but I also want to prove to everyone that we had a good soccer team and could stick with the best. We played really well in the championship game. Everyone on the team helped one way or the other. It wasn’t a one person job.”

“Memorial is a really great team, and we were proud we kept them to only two goals each half,” Jones said. 

Prior to the championship game, the girls overthrew Mount Vernon in the semi-finals and Boonville in the first round of the Sectional Tournament. The Lady Titans did a lot of planning going into the first two games. 

“We practiced possession and defensive positioning, and we also worked on corner kicks and set pieces,” Adler said. “We wanted to control the tempo of each game and possess the ball as much as we could.”

In the first game against the Boonville Pioneers, both teams were scoreless in the first half. The first goal was not scored until there was only 18:20 left in the second half. The Titans went on an offensive run and broke through their shell to secure the win. Jones tallied up three goals with assists by senior Kayleigh Baehl and freshman Brylee Kern. Freshman Laira Cloin missed on her first shot but succeeded on the second goal with the assist from Jones. Then, Kerns scored with a second assist from Jones.

Gibson Southern scored three goals to the Wildcats’ one in the second game of the tournament. Two goals came from Jones and one from senior Hailey Richter, with assists from sophomore Halle Evans, Kern and junior Claire Higginbotham. 

Gibson Southern Lady Titans’ soccer 2022 season has come to an end. 

“I was really proud of the team this year and how we overcame so many obstacles throughout the season,” Titans’ center-midfielder Higginbotham said. “I am excited for next year with goals of defending the PAC title and winning our sectional.”

Girls’ soccer rankings and playoff schedules can be found here.