DECATUR – A year later, the blowout was replaced by the upset.
And Norwell exacted a measure of revenge with a 1-0 win over defending champion South Side in the championship of the Bellmont girls soccer Class 2A sectional Saturday.
Norwell lost 5-0 to South Side in last years sectional finals.
It was the Knights second sectional championship and first since 2001.
It was destiny, and it was the whole team putting the effort into it and working so hard for this, said Norwell junior Alex Hartman, who scored the goal.
Norwell (12-3-1) will play Bishop Dwenger (13-4) at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals of the East Noble Regional.
Our girls really, really wanted it, Norwell coach John Proegler said. They have been playing like that all year.
Hartman provided the game-winner with 12 minutes left after a flurry in front of the South Side net.
It was a big crash, and it was such an adrenaline rush, Hartman said of the goal. I didnt even think I was going to get it in, but when I did we knew we had a chance to win the game.
Ones all we need.
Hartman leads the team with 11 goals this year.
It wasnt pretty but it went in the back of the net, Proegler said of Hartmans goal.
Knights goalkeeper Haley Heller stopped five shots.
Once that went in, we can play defense, Proegler said. We know how to play defense when we have to.
The key to the defensive game plan was containing South Side senior Kaitlyn Hayes, a Murray State recruit who scored 18 goals this season.
That was part of the game plan, Proegler said. We didnt want (Hayes) to see the ball. She is their synergy and everything feeds off of her. You could tell that. We took a lot out of (them) by not having her possess the ball in the middle.
So the turnaround from last season is complete for the Knights, who finished 4-12-1 a year ago.
This year, Norwell was 5-3 in NHC matches and was outscored 15-0 in losses to Carroll, Homestead and DeKalb. But the Knights are 7-0-1 against nonconference opponents.
The Archers finished the season 10-7-1.
They packed the middle and kept four defenders to keep her from being able to dribble through their defensive line, South Side coach Kyra Nolan said of the defense on Hayes.
South Side had its chances, including two second-half shots that just slipped past the goal.
To have such a great season and play a great game and to not take advantage of the opportunities that we had, it hurts, Nolan said. When they needed it to count, it counted the most.
Senior goalkeeper Ariana Simmons had three saves for the Archers.