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It was a moment Sydney Newell and her fellow Columbus East senior girls soccer team members had been waiting for their entire high school careers.
Newell and the rest of the Olympian seniors ended three years of frustration against crosstown rival Columbus North on Saturday night. Class 2A No. 20 East beat the Bull Dogs 2-0 to win their first sectional since 2006 and advance to this week’s East Central Regional.
“It feels amazing,” Newell said. “Words can’t even describe how good it feels.”
Newell had a hand in East’s second goal of the championship game. Molly Connor played a corner kick into the box, and Newell headed it across the goal mouth to Molly Macy, who put it away.
“Our defense had a great game,” Newell said. “They kept it out. Molly Macy with two goals was fantastic. I’m proud of our whole team.”
The assist was Newell’s team-leading 14th of the season and the 59th of her high school career. That puts her one behind the school’s all-time leader, Karen Force.
As an attacking midfielder, Newell is also tied for second on the team with 11 goals. But she first looks to distribute the ball to forward Rachel Amlung (23 goals) and outside wings Bailey Dowd (eight) Molly Connor (seven) and Danielle Rodgers (three).
“They make great runs,” Newell said. “They support me completely in the middle. I can always look to hit them on a run.”
Newell likes that 17 girls have scored at least one goal for the Olympians (15-2-1).
“We’ve had a bunch of people scoring,” Newell said. “Everyone has been a part of the offense, which has been great. It’s my favorite way to play soccer. I think it’s the prettiest way.”
If you go
East Central Regional
6 p.m.: Columbus East vs. East Central
8 p.m.: New Castle vs. Bloomington South
6 p.m.: Championship
East coach Ilya Schwartzman calls Newell the heart and soul of the team.
“Sydney is the engine that doesn’t stop running,” Schwartzman said. “She works the middle better than I’ve ever seen any central midfielder.
“She works non-stop,” he said. “She wins the ball. She distributes. She’s an excellent defender. She has unmatchable endurance. She’s the glue that holds the team together. She’s a phenomenal player.”
The Olympians are 59-12-4 in Newell’s four years with the squad.
“It’s been an incredible experience,” Newell said. “I’ve loved playing with our core group of seniors. We’ve played together since we were 10 or 11, so being a part of the team has been the highlight of my high school career.”
Following the high school season, Newell plans to play with the Columbus Express club team again, but she doesn’t plan to play varsity soccer in college. She plans to attend Indiana University and may play club or intramural soccer.
Newell, who ranks in the top 10 of her class with a 4.2 GPA, wants to go into education and be a high school English and possibly psychology teacher. She also hopes to someday be a soccer coach.
“Soccer is always going to be a part of my life in some manner,” Newell said.
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