FISHERS — Pendleton Heights girls soccer coach Mark Davy made a dramatic adjustment to his starting lineup for Tuesday night’s Class 3A Sectional 8 match with Fishers.
With regular goalkeeper Gracie Conkling out with an injury and Davy anticipating an all-out attack by the ninth-ranked Tigers, he moved senior Megan Mills — the Arabians’ leading scorer with 15 goals — to in front of the net.
Mills was nothing short of stellar in her season debut in goal, stopping 14 shots, a few of those with an enhanced degree of difficulty.
And Mills kept Fishers off the board for as long as she could, which happened to be more than a half. And when she finally was beaten, she really couldn’t be blamed.
Fishers’ Kaysey Castro scored on a penalty kick in the 42nd minute, just after the second half began, and Castro and the Tigers went on eliminate the Arabians 2-0 in a contest played at Hamilton Southeastern.
A PH squad that had to fill a lot of holes before the season began finished 9-6-2, but with three straight defeats at the end.
The Arabians pinned their hopes on Mills — who filled in as No. 1 keeper last year due to injuries — hopefully keeping Fishers off the board and then taking their chances in a shootout, barring an unlikely PH goal.
“I thought that Megan gave us the best chance to win,” Davy said. “She held her own right up to (after it became 2-0).”
Mills steered aside 11 shots in the first 40 minutes and saw two others ding the crossbar, but she was virtually helpless as far as both Tiger goals were concerned.
A hand ball inside the 18-yard box gave Fishers a PK, and Castro put it in the right corner.
Castro insured her PK goal with one off a set piece from 30 yards out at a left angle, in the 68th minute. Mills was then replaced by Kylea Lloyd.
“She had a heck of a game,” Davy said. “I was proud of her effort.”
Mills checked back into the game in the 72nd minute, in the field. She had a great opportunity on goal, but PH was called for offside.
“She’s just that type of athlete that wherever she is, she’s going to be your best player, whether that’s in the field or in goal,” Davy said. “Maybe we should have put her in the field sooner, but we wanted to make sure we held our defensive end first.”
Mills was one of three seniors and two who were able to play this year; the other was defender Madison Likens. Anna Childers missed the season because of a torn ACL.
“Those three, I can’t say enough of them,” Davy said. “They were three of the best leaders that we’ve had, and a large part of the success that we had this year is due to their leadership.”