By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
---- — FISHERS — Pendleton Heights junior Sydney McCullum scored two goals and her Arabians teammates added four more as they advanced to the soccer sectional title match with a 6-0 win over Anderson.
McCullum not only scored two goals, but one of them was the first goal of the match. It was a key moment and it happened less than five minutes into the match.
"That one got the monkey off our back so to speak," said PH coach Mark Davy. "It made everyone feel better and we kind of gained momentum after that."
Asked what she remembered about that goal and McCullum said, "I remember all of my teammates working hard, getting the ball to me and cheering for me after it."
Another big moment came less than three minutes later when Anderson senior Monica Robinson came free with the ball and headed toward the goal with no PH defender between her and goalkeeper Sam Hammel. Robinson got off the shot. Hammel took it in her hands, the ball started to come free but she quickly regained possession to end the threat.
"We wanted to watch out for No. 13 (Robinson)," said Davy. "She's one of the fastest players we play against all season. We didn't want her to get loose."
With just under 28 minutes left in the first half, Pendleton sophomore Madison Wiles put in a shot just under the crossbar to give PH a 2-0 lead.
With 21:51 left in the half, McCullum again worked her way free for a shot. Anderson keeper Clarise Clapp made the save but the rebound came free and back to McCullum and she put it to the back of the net for a 3-0 advantage.
"Sydney really stepped up for us today," said Davy. "She hasn't put those shots away all the time during the season. She did it tonight."
With 18:48 to play before intermission, the Indians were awarded a free kick about 30 yards from the PH goal. Desiree Robinson took the shot and it went high over the crossbar.
The second half started slowly for both teams in terms of good scoring chances. But with six minutes gone, the Arabians got the offense rolling again. Shelby Fort's shot was a good one but it didn't go in. The rebound came out to Emily Church, who made it 4-0.
Seniors Hannah Watts and Ellie Sweeney finished the scoring.
Clapp went down with just 28 seconds left in the game after she was accidentally kicked during a scrum around the goal. She remained prone on the ground for several minutes, but when she got back to her feet she decided to remain in goal for the final seconds of her high school career.
The Arabians will play in the championship at 6 p.m. on Saturday against the winner of Thursday's other semifinal game. Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers played in that contest.
The Indians end their season but they will say goodbye to just five players from the sectional roster.