What began as a season that looked like it was on the brink of being cancelled, turned into what would be a season for the history books for the Guerin Catholic Girls Soccer program. Unique challenges presented itself while new heights and memories were created. In his first year as head coach, Coach Sean Yau was tasked with navigating through the obstacles of the pandemic while continuing the past successes of the soccer program. The first step was to collaborate with the returning players and lean on their experience representing the school.
It was led by a senior class (Class of 21′) that ended their unbelievable high school careers by bookending their freshmen and senior year with trips to the 3A State Finals. Led by captains, Evi Bestard, Quincy McMahon, Caroline Quinn, and Claire Sawyer, the senior class also included outstanding players Ava Schlichte, Jentrie Gearhart, Olivia Labus, Calli McGee, Kaitlyn Freese, and Lilian Snyder along with Riley Beauregard, Cam Borghese, and Rosie Joyce.
“To start my first year as head coach of the program with this group of seniors was an incredible blessing and honor. We have helped and witnessed each other grow, athletically and spiritually, the last few years as I first entered the program during their freshmen year. So to say I leaned on this group a lot is an understatement. They truly embody the spirit of a Guerin Catholic student-athlete and reset the culture of GCGS,” said Coach Yau.
After playing two games to begin the season, the team was confronted with the worst possible news. Their season had been postponed and practices and games were canceled for at least two weeks. But instead of settling on excuses and feeling sorry for themselves, the program persevered and established ways to stay accountable and ways to keep the spirits high.
“ABC. Adversity Builds Character. That was the motto we leaned on when our season got put on hold and I think that is what strengthened our resolve and love for each other,” said McMahon.
This would lead to a torrid run through the regular season in which they would score 54 goals and only concede 3. Offensively, McMahon(19G 17A),Bestard(10G 7A), and juniors Katie Koger(11G 7A) and Emersen Jennings(7G 3A) led the way and a defensive duo of Sawyer/Quinn flanked by juniors Hailey Abel(3G 11A) and Shay Hussey would help the GK wall of Labus and junior Bailey Cappella. In between time, they would make program history by bringing the first Circle City Conference Championship(28 goals, 0 against)to Guerin Catholic, which was perfectly clinched on Senior Night. This would set a tone going into the state tournament.
After being preseason ranked #17 and not getting out of sectionals the last couple years, the girls used that slight to reintroduce themselves as one of the best programs in Indiana. Along the way the girls would take down top 15 teams at each turn. They would take care of business by beating #12 North Central for the Sectional Championship. In what was one of the wildest games ever played, the team was able to make an incredible comeback down 2-0 with six minutes left to go and score 3 goals in an eight minute span to win the Regional Championship against #15 Mt. Vernon. The following weekend they would defeat #6 Columbus North and bring back the Semi-State Championship and advance to the State Finals. In a hard fought and emotional match against Noblesville, the Golden Eagles would finish as the Class 3A State Runner-Up.
“No regrets with this team. They put everything on the line. They sacrificed so many things along the way to make sure the season stayed alive and it resulted in an unforgettable year. They are of the highest quality on and off the field,” said Coach Yau.
“Four years goes by really fast. This year reminded me of why the girls soccer program is so special. We played at such a high level while also having fun doing it. These are my best friends,” said Bestard.
Looking towards next season, it will not be easy replacing the senior class. They have left an indelible mark on this program for sure. But the program is in good hands. Returning will be Alyssa Ferry, Koger, Jennings, Abel, Hussey, Cappella, Kaitlyn McKeever, Makenzie Wert, Lauren Gardner, and Cecelia Leffler, which should form a great foundation along with the rising sophomores and juniors and will prove that Guerin Catholic Girls Soccer is not only back for the first time, but here to stay. #WAO