Shelbyville set the tone with early pressure, scored the first goal and add two more in the first half to spark the program’s sixth-consecutive victory Saturday morning, 3-0, over visiting Whiteland.
The Golden Bears improved to 8-1 overall and completed their fifth-straight shutout win.
“We are playing pretty solid across the board,” said first-year Shelbyville coach Garrett Belden. “The offense is scoring. The defense is playing great defense. When they play together well, this is the result.”
The Warriors (7-3) arrived in Shelbyville riding a 7-match win streak but were stifled by Shelbyville’s early aggressive runs to the goal.
Evelyn Kiefer set up Shelbyville’s first goal with a through pass that met Ava Wilson in stride. The junior avoided a Whiteland defender then beat goalkeeper McKinley Garrett for the game’s first goal less than 13 minutes into the contest.
“That was huge. That took a lot of pressure off,” admitted Belden.
Shelbyville put 15 shots on goal in the first half and that paid off with two more goals before halftime.
Cyanne St. Bernard found room for a shot and pushed it low past Garrett in the box. The ball rolled to the far post, hit it and rebounded out to Hailey Pogue, who finished it for her second goal in as many games.
Pogue, a senior who was a key part of Shelbyville’s semistate softball run in June, has shared goalkeeping duties with Macy Cooley this season but is now adding more athleticism to Shelbyville’s front-line attack.
“We put her in last game and we saw what she could do,” said Belden. “And today she had a goal and an assist. It gives our top line another body to let us breathe.”
Pogue broke free for a long run in the first half’s final seconds. She crossed the ball to Wilson in front of the net who beat Garrett for a second time and a momentum-building 3-0 lead.
Whiteland started the second half strong challenging Cooley in goal but with juniors Lilly Marshall and Ellie Simpson in front of her, the Warriors never found the back of the net.
Shelbyville finished 9-5-2 in 2021 and returned plenty of experience for a new coach.
“Coming in, I knew these girls wanted to win. I knew they wanted to play well,” said Belden. “They’ve connected on what we’ve worked on in practice and done it out in the games.”
Shelbyville’s only loss came on Aug. 30 at Mt. Vernon, 3-0. Since then, the Golden Bears are 6-0 and have outscored their opposition, 28-3.
The program now prepares for a busy week traveling to Greenwood Christian Tuesday before hosting Greenfield-Central Thursday and traveling to Rushville Saturday.
“We are doing a lot well,” said Belden. “We need to maintain possession a little bit more. There are times where we get rid of the ball a little too early. If we can keep that and continue to find our chances, I think we will find more success.”