Cathedral Girls Soccer Team Reflects On Championship Season
Photography Provided by Michael Tsueda
The Cathedral Irish Girls Soccer ended the 2018 season winning the IHSAA 2A State Championship title in front of the largest crowd ever at a state tournament. This was a significantly different outcome than last season where the Irish lost to arch-rival, Chatard, a team they had beaten the week prior for the City Championship only to lose in the first round of Sectionals.
Head Coach Marc Behringer, had an inkling the incoming seniors had unfinished business with Chatard, but as it turns out, their vision was much larger.
Starting in early 2018, the juniors began meeting with the coaches and sharing their vision for their senior year, what their goals were in the program and how they wanted everything to work, to what they wanted on the back of their warm-up t-shirts, to choosing the team captains.
Behringer recalls how absolute they were.
“From the very first meeting, they were not afraid to state their goal, ‘Coach, we want to win the state championship,’” he says. “So I asked them to think about how they were going to get this done, and they backed up their words with action, training and preparation, listening, asking questions, trying new things, a lot of effort and were willing to step aside sometimes and let someone else shine.
“There have been a number of senior classes that have come through over the years that were strong, fantastic leaders, great teams and that is something in a program you hope continues because the success of a team comes primarily from the leadership of the seniors.”
For senior Hailey Loftin, even though she suffered a season-ending injury early in the season, she shared that her two favorite seasons were this year winning the state championship and her freshman year with the seniors envisioning it. She credits them for creating an environment where they would not be classified as freshmen, the JV team or varsity, it was just the Cathedral Girls Soccer Team.
“They made it fun, they challenged us and they helped us grow,” she says. “Those seniors were our role models and they always looked out for us.”
Co-Captain Jennifer Utsinger says, “Those seniors had a great bond and our goal since freshman year was to have a bond like theirs our senior year. It left a lasting impact on us. We love being together and hang out all the time together.”
Behringer and his staff were able to keep their focus and let them know, “If they really wanted it, truly desired it, they needed to understand that winning in the tournament would be difficult and that they needed to prepare mentally and it would be work, a lot of work.”
In the first sectional game, they beat arch-rival Chatard at Chatard, Sectional Championship game against Roncalli at Roncalli. A Regional game against South Dearborn was played at South Dearborn and was won in overtime. The Regional Championship game against New Palestine at New Palestine, the Semi-Final Game was against last year’s champion, Evansville Memorial in Evansville, a team ranked No. 1 all year. Along the way, the girls figured out it was going to take a lot of perseverance, a lot of persistence and that it would always be challenging.
They finally made it to the state championship game against last year’s runner-up, South Bend St. Joseph at the Michael A. Carroll Memorial Stadium in Indianapolis where they had never played before, against the team that played there last year.
Cathedral scored the first and only goal of the game in 90 seconds and with the help of their goalie, senior and co-captain Sophia Saucerman, they kept St. Joseph scoreless for more than 73 minutes to become the 2018 state champions.
“The best reward as a coach and why I coach is to see the girls experience so much joy,” he says. “After the match, the coaching staff walked off to the side and watched the girls take the trophy over to the crowd, cheer, get their pictures taken, sing and enjoy the moment. These moments, this joy, is the stuff of dreams and why we do what we do. The joy can seem fleeting, but it doesn’t have to be because for the program, the students, the athletes, the parents, the alumni, we have this joy together. Winning does not occur in a vacuum, it is a reflection of the entire program and comes on the shoulders of those that come before you.”
That is the foundation of the program and the legacy 12 seniors left behind to inspire the program to even greater heights in the 2019 season.