Olympians overcome slow start, roll to win

A Columbus East girls soccer team that had lost its first three games this season went through 30 more minutes of frustration Tuesday night.

That all changed quickly.

The Olympians scored a dozen goals in the final 50 minutes to roll to their first win, a 12-1 Hoosier Hills Conference decision against Madison.

“We know the quality of team we have, and when we bring our intensity and bring our highest effort, then we play excellent soccer,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “I think we came out a little bit flat, a little bit too slow to the ball, and we picked it up.”

The Olympians (1-3, 1-0) took 25 shots in the first 30 minutes. Several of those sailed just over the crossbar.

East then missed a golden opportunity in the 30th minute, when Jada Berkemeier’s penalty kick was saved by the Cubs’ Taylor Rowlett.

“I think the PK made us realize, ‘Hey, we need to start putting some in the back of the net,'” Berkemeier said. “That even fired us up even more than what we already were.”

So a minute later, Berkemeier knocked one in from 35 yards out. Then in the following minute, the 32nd, Berkemeier took a pass from Madelyn Rohlfs and scored for a 2-0 lead.

Berkemeier was one of a few Olympians who entered the game midway through the first half.

“When I came in, I thought we needed to pick it up,” Berkemeier said. “I thought we passed very well, and we started to work the ball really well. After (those two goals), we really picked up and worked really well together.”

Kamebry Wagner scored off an assist from Rohlfs in the final minute of the first half to give East a 3-0 halftime lead. Then, Maya Federle scored off an assist from Sarah Park in the opening minute of the second half for a 4-0 advantage.

Park scored in the 43rd and 48th minutes, the second coming off a rebound from a Rowlett save off an Alana Dwenger shot, for a 6-0 lead. Goals from Addy Galarno, Emily Stiles and Lindsey Stoughton in the 50th, 51st and 52nd minutes made it 9-0, and a Hannah Hemmerlein score in the 65th minute put the Olympians in double digits.

Madison got on the board in the 76th minute after a ball sent back to East keeper Karisma Parker was misplayed. But then then Rohlfs scored off an assist from Mya Johnson in the 77th minute, and Hemmerlein scored off an assist from Elena Leddy with 4 seconds remaining.

The Olympians outshot the Cubs 61-2. Jenny Bastain, who played the first 50 minutes in goal, and Parker, who played the final 30, did not record a save.

“I thought the group we put in the second portion of the first half really took over the game for us and did an excellent job,” Schwartzman said. “Once we got through that, then everything started flowing better. I think the players understand what it takes to play at the highest level of soccer, and hopefully, we’ll start bringing it from the first minute.”

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.