Bridget Brendza knew once the first goal came, plenty more would follow. The
problem for the Chesterton girls soccer team was getting that first goal.
Brendza broke a scoreless tie in the 49th minute and the Trojans added three
more second half goals as Chesterton advanced to Saturday’s sectional
championship with a 4-0 victory over Portage on Thursday night.
The Trojans (13-1-2) will meet Valparaiso in the title match. Chesterton
beat the Vikings (8-6-2) 3-1 at home earlier this season.
“We can’t take that win earlier this year as anything,” Brendza said. “This
is a completely different game. We’ve progressed since then and I’m sure
they’ve progressed since then.”
Brendza admitted that the Trojans were caught looking ahead to Valparaiso on
Thursday night after the Vikings advanced with a 5-0 victory over Hobart.
With revenge on their minds following last season’s 1-0 title game loss to
Valparaiso, the Trojans nearly slipped up against the host Indians.
“We got on them a little bit at halftime,” Chesterton coach Dave Galloway
said. “We had some opportunities in the first half and it was frustrating
because we couldn’t convert. We kept waiting for one to get in and get
Brendza added a second goal just four minutes after her first tally. Claire
Galloway and Kayla Schneider each added goals at the midway point of the
second half as the Trojans spent the majority of the evening on Portage’s
side of the field.
“There was a sigh of relief when the first goal came and I knew we’d get
more,” Brendza said. “We needed to come out strong after half. We can’t have
a first half like that again in the postseason.”
The Trojans got out of the match healthy on Thursday night although Brendza
took a nasty fall when she got tangled up with Portage keeper Brianna
Coleman. Brendza was attended to on the field before walking off under her
“The irony is that I had her sub at the line ready to come in,” Galloway
said. “I know what kind of player Bridget is and I knew that the play would
end with her getting tackled by the keeper. She is relentless in pursuit of
With both teams getting strong performances from their senior leaders on
Thursday night, the sectional championship match looks to be one for the
ages on Saturday.
“I expect that this will be an outstanding championship match between two
very deserving programs,” Galloway said.