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St. Vincent opens soccer title defense with shuout of Central
A Class 1 girls soccer program typically is the underdog against a Class 3 program.
But the St. Vincent Indians aren't your typical Class 1 program.
The Indians opened their season with a 6-0 victory at Central on Wednesday.
It was St. Vincent's first game since capturing the Class 1 state championship, a 3-1 victory over Trinity Catholic last season.
"I think they were more nervous than excited," Indians coach Dustin Wengert said. "Great things come with great expectations and the expectations this year are something new."
The Indians graduated three seniors from last year's team but return multiple weapons.
Those weapons showed against the Tigers.
St. Vincent clearly was the quicker team, often using its lightning-quick forwards and midfielders to go on the offensive against the Tigers.
"I think speed is definitely one of our strong points," senior midfielder Rachel Sutterer said. "That's always been a key factor in the way that we play soccer."
That speed helped put the Indians on the offensive from the opening whistle.
They peppered Central early and often before their first goal came a little more than five minutes in.
After several golden chances, Sutterer fired a cross to Liz Brueckner, who buried it in the net for an early 1-0 lead.
"We always stress the first five minutes of each half," Wengert said. "We want to set the tone early."
The Indians controlled play for the majority of the first half, using multiple subs and a variety of players on offense to outplay the Tigers. They outshot Central 14-2 in the opening half.
St. Vincent added to its lead late in the half when Storm French capitalized on a poor Central clear and scored from just outside the 18-yard box to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.
The defending state champions' defense was impressive in the opening 40 minutes, only allowing two shots and consistently stifling any opportunity for Central.
While the defense was impressive, the offense wasted little time putting away the game in the second half.
After a cross from the left side went long, Sutterer collected it and crossed one back into the box, where sophomore Courtney Heberlie drilled a header into the back of the net just 23 seconds into the second.
French hit a corner kick to Kayla Seabaugh, who finished the goal and added to the Indians' lead two minutes later.
"I was a little concerned about them today," Wengert said. "We are a little low in numbers this year. Communication was an issue in the first half, but it was much better in the second."
St. Vincent went up 5-0 on a goal by Sutterer just seven minutes into the half.
Megan Sutterer tallied the Indians' sixth goal in injury time.
As smothering as the Indians' defense was in the first half, it was even better in the second. St. Vincent didn't allow a Tigers shot and outshot Central 36-2 on the night.
Wengert was pleased with his team's play in its first game, especially considering the expectations this season.
"I liked the fact that we played our roles," Wengert said. "Each player had a role and they played it. Our passing was good, not great, and we finished well tonight. We played unselfish."