Sectional Breakthrough

Switzerland County’s girls soccer team celebrates with the trophy after winning their first-ever sectional title on Saturday at Rising Sun.

RISING SUN — Switzerland County has tried for four, long, frustrating, years to bring home a girls soccer sectional championship but each time the Pacers were stopped by Oldenburg Academy.

But after dispatching the Twisters in Thursday night’s semifinals, 14th-ranked Switzerland finally achieved its ultimate goal by whipping Milan 6-0 to win the Class A Sectional Championship at Rising Sun on Saturday.

Not only is it the first sectional championship for Switzerland County soccer — boys or girls — it’s the first time a girls soccer team from the Ohio River Valley Conference has won a sectional championship.

“I’m very excited. It’s been well-deserved for many years now,” Switzerland County coach Courtney Dayadharum said. “The girls have been playing together since they were three years old in Lollipop and they are so deserving to this.”

As in the semifinal win over No. 13 Oldenburg, the Lady Pacers struck early in the first half when Kenzie Taylor collected a pass from Halle Archer and fired it into the back of the net to give Switzerland an early 1-0 lead.

Taylor wasn’t done though and she put in her second goal of the game in the 31st minute to give the Pacers a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.

The second half was then complete domination by Switzerland, which put in two quick goals in the first 20 minutes, one by Halle Archer and the other by Taylor to cap off her hat trick.

“Just great passes from teammates and great effort. I put myself in good position but they’re the ones who pass it and give me the chance,” Taylor said. “I’m so proud to be a Pacer. This community is amazing. They’re an amazing support system and they always show out. I’m so proud of everyone here.”

Senior Kayley Jones found the back of the net in the 63rd minute off an assist from Taylor and senior Raylinn Kappes convert a penalty kick late in the game to cap the scoring.

In then end Switzerland completely dominated a team that had played them to two consecutive 2-2 draws in the regular season. The Pacers outshot Milan 18-1 overall, including six on goal, and had 10 corner kick opportunities.

As a starter the past four years, Kappes has had a front-row seat to frustrating ends to the season. She said the team was overdue for Saturday’s sectional breakthrough.

“I was honestly just in shock when it happened. I couldn’t believe it at first but then it just all sunk in and it’s just an incredible feeling,” Kappes said. “I love these girls so much. They’ve made such an impact on the team, especially the freshmen. They’re amazing, this team is amazing, I’m genuinely just on top of the world right now.”

Freshman Claire Rogers, another starter for the Pacers, provided an interesting footnote to the game as a double champion. Rogers started her Saturday by winning the individual cross country sectional championship at Hardy Lake and ended it with her second sectional title of the day by helping the soccer team win the sectional championship.

Switzerland County, now 13-1-2 on the season, heads to the regional round where it will host No. 9 Providence (12-5-1) on Wednesday in a 6 p.m. semifinal.

“We know Providence very well. They’re very skilled, they pass the ball extremely well, and they have great shooters up front,” Dayadharum said. “We’re excited to host and as everyone can say with the crowd at this game, we’re a soccer community and we’re ready to pack the stands and give it our best.”