CARMEL — The more time that ran off the clock, the more Guerin Catholic freshman Sarah Stagge seemed to shake, watching her soccer teammates fend off waves of attacks from No. 2 Avon.
Stagge, who normally plays midfield, had gotten some experience in goal this season, but nothing quite like Wednesday’s regional semifinal game. Not with stakes this high. She wasn’t even she sure she would be starting until mid afternoon.
“I was really nervous all day because my goalie’s MRI didn’t come out until this morning,” said Stagge, who found out around 2 p.m. “I was just worried all day.”
The Eagles’ regular goaltender, Chandler Edwards, will miss the rest of the season with a back injury.
Stagge may have shook, but she never faltered. Even with one shot coming close and banging off the crossbar, Stagge and the Golden Eagles (8-7-1) held tough and knocked off the Class 2A second-ranked Orioles (15-2-1) with a 1-0 victory to advance to the regional championship game against Brebeuf Jesuit on Saturday.
Guerin knocked off No. 3 Carmel with a 3-2 overtime win last Saturday.
“We’re exceeding everybody’s expectations except for our own,” Guerin coach Jonathan McClure said. “So can we just stay healthy enough, and if we’re not healthy enough, then are we prepared enough, and I feel like we’re just so prepared in what we’re doing.”
While both teams recorded several shots, the game’s lone goal came seconds before the 28th minute when junior forward Elle Vuotto fired a liner just past Avon goalkeeper Michaela Till into the left corner.
The Golden Eagles, who returned just four varsity starters from last season, suffered a 5-0 loss to Avon earlier this season. But while McClure said it showed his team what Avon “was capable of,” he considers all games prior to the postseason to be “about learning.”
“We’re going to have adverse moments, right, (but it’s) how can we learn from them when it matters,” McClure said. “And this is the game that mattered, not the one a month ago.”
Brebeuf advances to fourth straight regional championship
Coming off its first state title in 2015, Brebeuf (19-1-1) moved another step closer in its quest for a repeat when it knocked off North Central (10-8-1) 4-0 to advance to its fourth straight regional championship match.
Scoring early, the Braves maintained control throughout, save for a few strong pushes from Panthers forward Courtney Jones. Junior midfielder Hallie Pearson netted the first goal just past the sixth minute.
Brebeuf added another goal near the 27th minute and added a pair of goals in the second half, including one on a penalty kick in the final 52 seconds.
“You always want to be hitting your stride at the right time,” Brebeuf coach Angela Berry White said. “We’re starting to put it all together at the right time.”
The regional championship game will be played at noon Saturday at Carmel.
Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.