For the fourth time in the last five years, the Carmel High School girls soccer team was in the Class 3A state championship game.
The Greyhounds are now 1-3 in those finals following a 1-0 loss to Noblesville in the IHSAA state championship game Oct. 29 at Carroll Stadium at IUPUI in Indianapolis. Carmel won in 2018, then lost to Noblesville in 2019 and Homestead in 2021. It was Noblesville’s third title in four years.
“It’s hard to watch the kids work so hard to get something, be so close and not get that final little step,” longtime Carmel coach Frank Dixon said. “But they should have their heads up. That was a great game.”
Noblesville senior Ava Bramblett, who is headed to Ohio State University, scored the only goal in the first half.
“We just missed the chances and opportunities we had,” Dixon said. “We gave them one good one. That kid is a superstar. She is probably going to be Miss Soccer. If the superstar beats you, that’s fine.”
Carmel lost to host Noblesville 3-1 Sept. 19.
“The first time we played them, we had almost no offense,” Dixon said. “We had some really good chances. We just couldn’t put them away. We shut down almost everyone we wanted to, but Bramblett is going to get a chance. You have to be sensational to hold her to (no goals). In other words, we have to score a goal or two to be in that game.”
The Greyhounds finished 18-3-2.
“Our seniors are big and strong, and you have to be big and strong when you play a team like Noblesville,” Dixon said.
The Millers had 25 shots on goal compared to six for the Greyhounds. Carmel senior goalkeeper Aubree Empie had seven saves.
Empie received the Class 3A Mental Attitude Award.
“She deserves that. She’s worked really hard,” Dixon said.
Empie said not many people thought Carmel would be in the state final after opening the season with a 4-1 loss at Hamilton Southeastern.
“We worked our butts off,” Empie said. “We kept fighting. I’m just proud of our team. This was probably one of the best games we played all season. I’m proud of my four years here.”
Empie, who had nine shutouts, credited her team and family with helping her win the Mental Attitude Award.
Junior midfielder Megan Hamm led the Greyhounds with 12 goals and nine assists on the season, while sophomore forward Olivia Cebalo had 10 goals and three assists.