Thursday's semifinals feature Goshen vs. Central, Concord vs. Northridge.
ELKHART — With senior Taylor Lantz and freshmen Brenda Tellez fueling the offensive pressure much of the match, Concord defeated Elkhart Memorial 3-0 Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the opener of the Class 2A Elkhart Sectional girls soccer tournament.
“Taylor is kind of the leader of the pack,” said Minutemen coach Todd Hesselbart, who watched Lantz take a pass from Tellez and convert it into Concord’s second goal while also helping the defending sectional champions (the Minutemen reigned in 2012 at Goshen) to a 16-2 edge in shots on goal while earning a spot in the semifinals on Thursday, Oct. 10, against Northridge (Goshen plays Central at 5 p.m.). Northridge topped Concord 3-0 and Goshen bested Central 2-0 during the regular season.
“In attack, I think we did a good job of just finding our forwards’ feet and giving us a chance to get the shots off,” said Hesselbart, whose squad had 11 shots on goal in the first half, including a right-wing corner kick for a goal by junior Megan Diver. The final goal was by sophomore Emma Paden on an assist by junior Madison Miller.
The Minutemen edged the Crimson Chargers 3-2 on the same field in a Northern Lakes Conference match on Aug. 22. Memorial led 2-1 at halftime of that contest.
“We possessed the ball better and didn’t really give them any opportunities to get a shot off this time,” said Hesselbart of the rematch. “We have to possess the ball and I was on the girls a couple of times today about losing possession of the ball.
“It’s a matter of spacing and it’s a matter of moving off the ball.”
Hesselbart was impressed with the play of Chargers sophomore goalie Kennedy Knowlton.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” said Hesselbart, who turned 40 Tuesday. “Their keeper did a really nice job, especially in the second half. There were times when we were right up in her face and she did a really, really nice job.”
Kennedy is the daughter of Memorial coach Don Knowlton, who fielded a young starting lineup Tuesday with just three seniors (Amber Hooven, Carl Lochmandy and Maddy Keeslar) and three juniors (Allyson Crane, Jordan Hostetler and Nicole Woolwine).
“We fought hard,” said Don Knowlton. “We had a few (scoring) chances that we should have took early on. We didn’t pull the trigger. We tried to get that better shot.”
Knowlton said his players should have let some shots rip and “hope for a good rebound.”
The first time the two teams met this year showed Knowlton that his team could play with Concord.
The difference in the rematch?
“They were a little more focused and our marks were a little too soft,” said Knowlton.
It was a “roller-coaster” season for the Chargers, which won three of five during a stretch in September and wound up with the same win total as the 2012 Memorial team.
The 2013 Chargers ended up 2-5 in NLC play.
2A ELKHART SECTIONAL
CONCORD 3, MEMORIAL 0
C — Megan Diver (unassisted) 18th minute.
C — Taylor Lantz (Brenda Tellez) 36th.
C — Emma Paden (Madison Miller) 76th.
Shots on goal: Concord 16, Memorial 2. Saves: Concord — Jenny Miller 2, Kylie Harmon 0; Memorial — Kennedy Knowlton 13. Corners: Concord 8, Memorial 1.
Records: Concord 10-6-1, Memorial 6-9-1.
Next: Goshen vs. Central, 5 p.m., Northridge vs. Concord, 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10, in Elkhart Sectional semifinals.