Carmel High School girls soccer team gets defensive en route to state title

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To say the Carmel High School girls soccer team’s defense was stingy would be an understatement.

The Greyhounds (20-1-2) had 18 shutouts en route to a Class 3A state championship. Carmel beat Homestead 2-1 in the first overtime Oct. 27 at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis.

This was the Greyhounds’  10th Indiana High School Athletic Association girls soccer state title under coach Frank Dixon and the first since 2011. The state tournament became a three-class system in 2017.

“We’ve had good teams since (2011) but never quite put everything together, and we were able to this year,” said Dixon, whose 2014 team lost in the Class 2A state championship final. “They’ll be a bunch of really good kids, probably still hungry kids coming back next year.”

Junior Kelsie James, who has committed to Valparaiso, scored both goals in the state title game to give her a team-high 11 goals.

“We have an unselfish offense,” James said. “We all love to have each other score. No one person wants to be the hero all the time.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Erin Baker delivered 17 of the 18 shutouts.

“We’re glad to have her back for two seasons,” Dixon said.

The Greyhounds will lose eight seniors, including four starters.

“The strength of this team was defense, and two of those kids, the center back (Elizabeth Hargis) and right back (Emily Speidel), have played back there for three years,” Dixon said. “We only gave up five goals, and two of those were PKs (penalty kicks), so that will be tough to replace. But there are kids who have been waiting who want to take those (defender) spots and show they can do it, too.”

Dixon said the team also will miss senior midfielders Elyse Reed, who has committed to the University Mississippi, and Ashley Witucki.

“Last year, we didn’t go as far as we wanted to, but this year our motto was ‘Unfinished business,’ and we were able to get the results we wanted,” Reed said.

James said there was a determination to get the seniors past sectional.

“The team means a lot to each other and we really wanted to do it for the seniors,” James said.

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