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Hornets claim 6th straight HHC title

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HHC CHAMPionS: Rossville players and coaches pose with the Hoosier Heartland Conference championship trophy after beating Tri-Central, 5-2, on Wednesday. The win avenged a 2-1 loss to the Trojans in an early season tournament.
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TITLE RUN: Rossville’s Victoria Seest, right foreground, and Tri-Central’s Sadie Wyrick pursue the ball during Rossville’s 5-2 conference win over the visiting Trojans.

BY ANDREW KRULL - akrull@ftimes.com

Rossville took a little more complicated road than in past years but walked away on Wednesday with their sixth consecutive Hoosier Heartland Conference girls soccer title with a 5-2 victory over visiting Tri-Central.

“The girls didn’t like that you put in the paper that (the school) had won five times in a row,” Rossville head coach Mark Struck said. “They said, ‘that jinxes people.’”

Some doubt existed as to making it six in a row as the Trojans beat Rossville, 2-1, in the consolation match of the Hot Dog Invitational early this season.

“I think they thought they had us and we kind of shocked them right off the bat,” Struck said. “It kind of helped that we’ve been playing as well as we have.”

Sarah Taylor scored the Hornets’ first goal about three minutes into the match and added another about midway into the first half.

“She had it dialed in,” Struck said. “She scored two in the first and Saige (Darlin) scored the other.”

Darlin added her goal with about four minutes left in the half to give Rossville a comfortable 3-0 lead at the break. Tri-Central gained some hope early in the second half, but the Hornets took it away just as fast.

“They scored at 38 minutes (left), but we came back and scored about 20 seconds later which kind of took the wind out of them,” Struck said.

Taylor scored her third goal of the evening on that one and added a fourth around the 16 minute mark for the final 5-2 score after Tri-Central had trimmed it to 4-2 about two minutes earlier.

Struck noted the Hornets limited the Trojans to about four shots on goal in the first half and controlled possession much of the last portion of the second half but were unable to score.

“It was good the girls took care of business right from the beginning,” he said. “So, it was a successful Senior Night I’d say.”

Darlin and Jayla Rosen had assists on two of the Hornet goals on Wednesday, with goaltender Sam Malson recording seven saves.

Struck, in his second year coaching the Hornets, wasn’t around for Rossville’s first four consecutive conference titles and the beginning of the season left some doubt that the streak would continue, including the loss to Tri-Central on Aug. 31 at the Frankfort tournament.

“Getting beat by them in that tournament didn’t sit well, but nobody likes tournaments and playing on Saturdays,” he said.

After losing 6-0 to Lafayette Central Catholic on Sept. 10, Rossville ran off five straight wins to right the ship before losing 3-2 on Monday to Class 2A Lebanon. Wednesday’s win made it 6  wins out of 7, finishing their regular season at 10-7.

Along with their consecutive conference title streak, the Hornets also extended the program’s winning streak to 22 straight conference matches dating back to Aug. 20, 2013.

Rossville begins sectional play on Tuesday against Class 1A No. 1 ranked (Indiana Soccer Coaches Association) Central Catholic at Western Boone. Struck credits the 6-0 loss to the Knights earlier for turning around Rossville’s season.

“I think playing CC was the turning point,” he said. “After playing CC, the girls realized they have to move and work together to compete.

“I feel a lot better than the last time we played them,” Struck noted. “It will be a tough task, but it will be nice to get to play them again.”