Girls Soccer Sectional Champions:
The Chesterton girls
soccer team won the LaPorte Sectional title Saturday afternoon with a 2-0
victory over Portage. Pictured are, front row (l to r), Cristi Williams,
Taylor Lipniskis, Paige Winey, Kathleen Spears, Chelsea Gustafson, Megan
Behrendt and Jennie Humpfer. Second row (l to r) are Annie Thieling, Abby
Miller, Mara Gallo, Kate McCusker, Gabby Chumbley, Jenni Cardiff, Paige
Kadish, Jensen Crots, Hannah Houseman and Heather Ribar. Back row (l to r)
are Coach Kim Poppo, Kelsey Phillips, Katie McColly, Elise Gustafson, Coach
Joe Maxin, Lauren Seawright and Shauna Foor. (Tribune photo by TR Harlan)
By TR HARLAN
The Chesterton girls soccer team hasn’t exactly seen its season go according
to script. But, the final chapter in the book came out the same.
Sophomore Kate McCusker scored two goals and the Trojans defense pitched a
shutout in picking up the LaPorte Sectional championship with a 2-0 win over
Portage on Saturday afternoon.
“I knew it was going to be a close game,” Chesterton coach Kim Poppo said. “I
told the girls before we started that I was really confident. I had a dream
last night that we were going to win.
“I woke up this morning feeling confident and so did the girls.”
Chesterton controlled the game from the start but were unable to get a goal
until the 13:59 mark of the first half. McCusker controlled the ball near the
18-yard line and pushed the ball inside the near post with her left foot for
a 1-0 lead.
“The first 10-15 minutes of the game I thought we really controlled things,”
Poppo said. “We’ve lost so many games by one goal that we just had to keep
believing in ourselves. We’ve been in every game this year and we’ve been
talking about what we had to do to take the next step.
“Tonight they did it. They executed the things we worked on in practice and
it all came together finally.”
“Before the game we talked about getting the first goal and getting
momentum,” McCusker said. “This is the way we wanted our season to end. We’ve
had a lot of losses to teams we thought we should have beat.
“We knew we could do this and we just kept faith in ourselves.”
The Trojan defense and goalkeeper Gabby Chumbley gave up some shot attempts,
but was able to keep a talented Indians team from finding the net by matching
their physical style of play.
“We are not a physical team,” Poppo said. “We try to play more finesses and
move the ball on the ground. Tonight we had to step up and play a little more
physical and we did that.”
McCusker would put the final touches on the game with a goal on a penalty
kick with 7:44 to play.
“It made things a little more comfortable and we relaxed a little,” McCusker
said of the game’s second goal. “We quit pushing forward so much and started
playing more defensive. When you’re up two goals with eight minutes left, you
know they are going to send everyone forward.
“You just have to keep the ball in front of you and keep clearing it into
The Trojans will face Valparaiso in the Regional at LaPorte on Wednesday
night beginning at 7 p.m.
“Valpo was a one goal game last time,” Poppo said. “We have to change a few
things around against them because they are a little different than Portage.
This is a huge confidence booster for us.”
Chesterton 2, Portage 0
Chesterton – Kate McCusker 2 goals; Gabby Chumbley 8 saves.
Portage – Allison Cruse 5 saves.
Records – Chesterton 8-8-2, Portage 11-5-1.