A record number of the area’s players start their collegiate soccer careers this month.
Floyd Central girls’ graduates account for a large chunk of those carrying on their soccer careers, with no fewer than six playing college ball this fall.
One of them, Loryn Queen, has already gotten off to a flyer, scoring in her very first game for Division I outfit University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
In the Lady Mocs’ 6-0 win over cross-town rival Tennessee Temple last week, Queen started off her college career in midfield, where she chipped in with an assist, before scoring when moved up front.
“I am loving it so far,” said Queen, who was leading scorer for the Highlanders last year with 16 goals. “It’s a great challenge and it has pushed me to become more mature with the game. The coaches and upperclassmen have made being away from home much easier.”
It also helps that her old Javanon club teammate Logan Higgins from Assumption joins her on the program, while on the academic side, having a great physical therapy course was a great pull.
“And after visiting the school, I chose UTC because of the beautiful campus, the coaches and the players. They were all so welcoming I felt right at home,” said Queen.
Casey Marlin, Providence’s all-time highest career scorer with 95 goals, has chosen to study and play soccer at Lenoir-Rhyne University, located in Hickory, North Carolina.
The program, part of the South Atlantic Conference, is coming off back-to-back regular-season championships, as well and subsequent berths in the NCAA Division II national tournament.
The Bears are ranked ninth in the country preseason and much is expected of the team under new coach Cally Morrill.
Marlin said Lenoir-Rhyne, while having a successful soccer program, also has a sense of community that appealed to her.
“I think it is a challenge to be seven hours away from home with people I don’t know in an area I’m not familiar with, but I think it will be a great growing and learning experience,” she said.
Marlin will once again wear the No. 10 jersey she so successfully adorned during high school — a career which culminated in an Indiana Class A State championship with the Pioneers.
She said she believes the experience has really helped her thus far in what has been a rigorous preseason.
“It’s probably the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life but it’ll pay off,” she said. “I do think college is tougher because there is much more time put into it and it is a higher level of playing, but I’d say I’m prepared for it thanks to my experiences with Providence.”
The Bears’ first game will see them take on Georgia College in the Lenoir Rhyne Classic on Friday, August 31.
Also starting its fall campaign on Friday is NCAA Division III outfit Transylvania University, ranked No. 1 in preseason polls to repeat its 2011 feat of finishing atop the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Amongst the Pioneers’ new recruits are Nick Blackwell (New Albany) and Brett Bass (Providence).
Blackwell, who plays with two-time national league runner-up and six-time state champion Javanon ‘94, follows in the footsteps of Bulldog brothers Matt and Nick Karaffa, who both played with Transy.
“I am most thankful about getting an opportunity to play in college because it was always one of my goals to play college soccer and I am truly blessed to have this chance,” he said.
Blackwell said he chose Transylvania as it is a good blend of soccer and academics that will help him pursue his goals in life, one of which is coaching.
“I have taken part in coaching the New Albany boys’ team this summer with Dutch Vigar and Dietrich Rudolph, and while attending Transy, the players can help coach club at Lexington FC, which is a great way for me to help further my coaching career and help build a foundation for it.”
Bass, meanwhile, plays club soccer with United 1996, will become the second Providence defender to play with the Transylvania, the other having been Ryan Sparks.
Like many who have played at Transy, coach Brandon Bowman — now in his 10th year at the Lexington college — was a factor when Bass was choosing where to go.
“I met with Coach Bowman and really enjoyed my visit and loved the campus,” said Bass. “Transy has consistently been strong in soccer year after year under him and that influenced my decision.
“There are a lot of juniors here with a lot of experience and it’s been challenging as the game is faster. It’s nice also having other freshmen I know like Nick Blackwell and some United teammates here.”
The Pioneers’ first game is against Berea College at the Little Caesar’s College Showcase in Lexington on Friday, August 31.
Starting their collegiate soccer careers…
Brett Bass (Providence/Transylvania, Lexington, Ky.); Nick Blackwell (New Albany/Transylvania, Lexington, Ky.); Danny Laird (Floyd Central/Northern Kentucky, Ky.); Caleb Moore (Christian Academy of Indiana/Huntington, Ind.); Chris Smith (Christian Academy of Indiana/Huntington, Ind.); Gabe Stewart (St Xavier, Henryville native/Lipscomb, Nashville, Tenn.); Rebekah Burgan (Floyd Central & Jeffersonville/Parkland College, Ill.); Lauren Haley (Floyd Central/Ohio University, Ohio); Cassie Holland (Floyd Central/Asbury, Ky.); Casey Marlin (Providence/Lenoir-Rhyne, Hickory, N.C.); Taylor Patty (Floyd Central/Southern Indiana, Evansville, Ind.); Alysen Shireman (Floyd Central, 2011 graduate, first year at Campbellsville University, Ky.). Loryn Queen (Floyd Central/University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tenn.); Ashley Walls (Christian Academy of Indiana, 2011 graduate, first year at Asbury, Ky.)
Quintet of state winning players from one middle school team
The photo you see here shows the first ever soccer team at Holy Family School in New Albany.
The year is 2005, and in that first season the fifth and sixth grade Eagles soared to success, winning the Louisville Catholic School Athletic Association’s City Championship.
Six years on, the legacy of that same team can be felt throughout Indiana and Kentucky as another unique achievement is added to its list of firsts.
No fewer than five of its members won a high school soccer state championship title this fall, in both boys’ and girls’ realms.
In October, Lauren Holland, Casey Marlin and Erin Wallace (pictured front row, far right, in that order) were part of Providence’s Class A girls’ tournament success, the first IHSAA state sanctioned victory in the school’s 60 year history in any sport.
And last week, Mitch Brinkworth (right of goalie, front row) and Logan Riely (front row, second left) were among the St Xavier boys’ team which captured its 11th KHSAA state title last week (see story below).
All are still good friends, and can be found at Floyd Central’s fields at weekends having a kick about when time allows.
Coaches of the Eagles at the time were Tim Brown, whose sons Trent and Wade were part of the team, and Bobby Holland, father of Lauren. Holland was also part of Providence’s success this year as an assistant coach.
“It’s pretty amazing that five players from this team captured state titles this season,” said Brown.
“(The) team was loaded with talented players. Looking at the picture, I can count 13 out of 21 players who started varsity soccer at various local high schools. I was fortunate enough to coach these kids all the way through the 8th grade at Holy Family. I think we lost one game while they were (at the school).”
In 2005, the tournament extended to the month of June, so the Eagles ended up with a lot of players out of town on vacation for the finals.
“I only had Mitch and Erin that day,” said Brown. “I remember asking Mitch to slide back to right defender from striker. He did it with no questions asked and played a great game for us that day. Erin had our first goal – a long low shot from the right side. She also played the entire game.”
Brown added that both Logan Riely and Lauren Holland have come back from some pretty major injuries to be a part of these championship teams.
“Logan has had a laundry list of injuries and Lauren blew her know out last season and has come back from that,” he said.
The team played in Louisville because it wasn’t until the following year, 2006, that the New Albany Deanery Soccer League, featuring 3rd to 8th graders from numerous local schools, was founded.
In fact, Logan Riely’s dad, Frank, was a major force in its development and Brown thinks the Eagles also played their part in giving it a kick start.
“I believe the success of this team went a long way to establishing the Deanery League,” said Brown.
He said that along the way, the players received great coaching from their different clubs, including Southern Indiana United and Net-Surfers locally, not to mention top tutelage at the high school level from Dave Smith (Providence) and Andy Schulten (St. Xavier).
However, Brown added that even then he knew he had a gifted bunch.
“These kids were great to coach,” he said. “Some of them you could tell were talented at that age. Some of them were average soccer players at the time. I believe each of them had the love for the game that made them put in the time and effort to develop into the players they are today.
“It’s been a fun soccer season seeing these kids win state championships. It really speaks well for the state of soccer in southern Indiana.”
Ever since it was revealed last year that Indiana’s postseason soccer tournament was to be divided into two classes, it was clear who locally was going to benefit.
However, it’s one thing to be provided the opportunity; quite another to seize it.
No. 1 Providence girls have been seizing with relish this fall, a quality team unit that has had just one main goal — to go all the way.
The Lady Pioneers steamrolled through a lopsided sectional; put a decent side in the shape of Heritage Hills to the sword quite easily in regional; and took full advantage of the morsels that came their way in Saturday’s two semistate games at the Roberts Stadium in Evansville as the going got tougher.
Your heart would go out for Covenant Christian’s goalie after her first half blooper gave Providence a crucial lead and a shot of confidence at a time when they weren’t playing to their full potential, and could have even conceded only for an Autumn Meyer point blank save.
However, there’s no time for sentiment. You make full use of such gifts, defend well and put the encounter to bed with a goal from your top scorer Casey Marlin with just 1:07 on the clock to finish out 2-0.
Then you face a strong locally supported team in the shape of No. 6 Evansville Mater Dei. Of the 32 sectional girls’ winners in last season’s all-encompassing IHSAA tournament, only two – Providence and Mater Dei — contested in the new Class A this year.
Not a problem. The Lady Pioneers contained the speedy Lady Wildcats’ attack with relative comfort (I don’t remember a single troubling shot on Providence), you wear them down with your fitness, and then watch your prowling attacker (Marlin again) follow up a loose ball from a Leah Mattingly 25 yarder.
With just 3:37 left, you give scarce time to respond and you win your first semistate championship to add to six sectional and three regional titles.
Now, the Pioneers are just one game away from an historic Class A state soccer title, but they will have to overcome a tough obstacle in the shape of No. 5 Mishawaka Marian at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis this Saturday (10:30 a.m.)
Providence (20-0-2) has now scored 28 postseason goals in six games without reply, living up to its “Brick Force” moniker.
In fact, the team has had 11 consecutive shutouts since its 2-2 tie with South Oldham.
Marlin has bagged 11 goals in postseason, finding the back of the net in every matchup. The senior goal getter now has 36 for the season, and 95 for her high school career.
However, the Pioneers and their impressive statistics face a stern test when they come up against Marian, an outfit situated at the opposite end of Indiana next to South Bend and Notre Dame.
The No.5 Knights (18-2-1) overcame a strong No. 2 West Lafayette by a 2-1 scoreline in overtime, having played a large chunk of the game in defensive mode.
Those who will be on Coach Dave Smith’s radar will be top scorer Gabrielle Veldman, who notched the team’s opener in the seventh minute, and her sister, freshman Denise Veldman, who scored the game winner in overtime.
The Knights were semi-state runners-up to Portage in 2006, and have won six sectional and four regional titles, while its varsity boys’ soccer team made it to the state final four in 2008, losing to Zionsville.
Either Mishawaka Marian (enrollment 676) or Providence (460) is about to win its first ever soccer state title, and the inaugural Class A girls’ championship to boot.
I know who I’m going with!
By the way, if you can’t make it to the game on Saturday, you can watch it live on IHSAAtv.org.
Providence path to the final
Rising Sun Sectional
Switzerland County 4-0
Southwestern (Hanover) 12-0
Rising Sun 5-0
Heritage Hills 4-0
Evansville Harrison Semistate
Covenant Christian 2-0
Evansville Mater Dei 1-0
State Finals Schedule
When: Saturday, Oct. 29
Where: Kuntz Stadium, 1502 West 16th Street, Indianapolis
Class A (girls): #5 Mishawaka Marian (18-2-1) vs. #1 Providence (20-0-2), 10:30 a.m.
Class A (boys): #1 FW Canterbury (17-1-4) vs. #2 Evansville Mater Dei (17-5-1), 1 p.m.
Class 2A (girls): #2 Hamilton Southeastern (20-0-2) vs. #1 Carmel (21-0-1), 3:30 p.m.
Class 2A (boys): Crown Point (15-6-2) vs. #16 Columbus North (18-2-2), 6.p.m.
Providence ended Floyd Central’s bid for a fifth straight sectional title when beating the Highlanders with this stunning Casey Marlin goal with just 1:30 left on the clock in the second period of overtime. The move started with a fantastic solo run by Leah Mattingly from her own half down the right wing, avoiding a number of challenges on the way. Her beautifully weighted pass found Marlin, who cut inside keeper Cassie Sakai and booted home. It was her 28th of the season, helping her to break the school’s season best held by Laura Jenkins. She has already beaten Providence’s all-time scoring record with 58. Providence will now meet Corydon in the sectional final at Floyd Central tomorrow (Saturday, 2 p.m. kick off). Photo by Ronda Trimble.