GREENCASTLE -- You could say it's been a long stretch for the Greencastle girl's soccer team.
The Tiger Cubs have taken their lumps throughout the early part of the season, having played several large schools in the area to prepare for sectional play. Where as other teams might get excited to see Terre Haute South on the schedule, it was probably met by a shrug of shoulders from this squad.
Greencastle did take an early 1-0 lead against the Braves but could not hold the lead and by the time the final whistle sounded they were on the wrong end of a 6-1 scoreline.
South started off with a majority of the possession for the opening ten minutes but struggled to do anything productive with it. As Greencastle began to get a foothold in the match, senior forward Whitney Brotherton got a chance to run at the Brave defense.
Turned away on her first attack, she hassled a South defender into running back towards goal. With a well timed tackle, she stole the ball and beat goalkeeper Collen Bray to open up the scoring for the Tiger Cubs.
South wasted little time in responding. A mistake by defender Hannah Deer proved costly as an attempted header back to goalkeeper Melody White instead ended up at the feet of Braves' sophomore Courtney Hubbard, who slipped a shot passed the stranded White and leveled the score at 1-1.
Play soon began to go from end to end as both sides looked to score the next goal. The Braves would find that second goal after a Tiger Cub attack broke down and the up field clearance was knocked into the path of Lexi Penwell, who charged past the Greencastle defense and beat White from a tight angle to make the score 2-1.
Penwell then began to help the Braves dominate the midfield and push Greencastle back further. The pressure would tell six minutes before halftime as White, who had been under bombardment from the Braves, parried a shot wide of the goal, only for it to drop in front of Katherine Senseman. The freshman fired in and closed out the halftime scoring at 3-1 in favor of Terre Haute South.
The second half began with a bang for the Braves. Within the opening two minutes, South earned two corner kicks and converted on the second one. The corner was fired in from the right side of goal to the near post where Madison Kesler stuck a foot out and pushed it between the goalkeeper and a defender to up the score to 4-1 in favor of the Braves.
White was kept busy as South, not content with a small lead, began to pressed forward. She would record 11 saves on the night, but not before Penwell grabbed a second goal and Makenzie Mauriello smashed one home to close out the scoring.
It was a frustrating day for Greencastle coach Curt Bingman, but it was the kind of day he'd already seen before.
"It's been a rough season. We had a couple of injuries at the Crawfordsville game. We've had some bad games. Our girls played good, they were just beat on the field non-stop," Bingman said. "We've had some pretty bad losses.
"But now that we're halfway though the season a lot of the bigger schools are out of the way. We just keep going from game to game and we look at what the future has for us the rest of this season. We're done with this one. Now it's time to move on to Northview Saturday," Bingman added.
Playing both Terre Haute North and South back-to-back, it was not a surprise that they took the fight early to the Braves.
"I got what I was hoping for. The girls got out and scored first. We controlled it for the first half of the first half and then for whatever reason the girls got in the mindset that they needed to stay back on defense instead of pushing ahead and controlling the midfield.
"It could have been a lot worse. We had some good saves from our goalkeeper Melody (White), but we just wore down," Bingman noted.
Midway through the season, and sporting a 2-7 record, Bingman knows that these games do have some value.
"We play them as 4A schools because they are in our sectional bracket. Otherwise, we probably never would see them. Hopefully that will change next year with the two sectionals going into effect. We use these games now as a learning experience, playing against larger schools that have a bigger pool to draw from."
With Northview on the horizon, the game plan itself won't change, but the record, in his mind, should in a positive way.
"We're looking for a win. I told the girls, even walking out for these, there's no reason they can't win if we play the way that we've trained to do all summer and all season," Bingman said. "It they play the way we've taught them to play and that they know they can play, there's no reason they can't win games."
T. H. South 3 3 -- 6
Greencastle 1 0 -- 1
29:18 -- Brotherton (G) 1-0
28:41 -- Hubbard (THS) 1-1
17:18 -- Penwell (THS) 1-2
5:58 -- Sense man (THS) 1-3
37:39 -- Kesler (THS) 1-4
16:29 -- Penwell (THS) 1-5
11:34 -- Mauriello (THS) 1-6
Next match -- Greencastle hosts Northview at 10 a.m. Saturday.