PORTER TWP. — Alivia Peters still can’t fully comprehend what happened.
The junior defender and midfielder saw the ball, took a shot and now she and her teammates are sectional champions. Her right-footed goal in the 91st minute lifted Times No. 6 Boone Grove to a 2-1 overtime victory over Andrean on Saturday and helped the Wolves claim their fourth Class A sectional title in school history.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it, and then as soon as it got through the 18’ in the air, I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s going in!’” Peters said. “I knew we were gonna win. That was the best goal that I’ve ever scored in my entire life, EVER. I’ve never been happier.
“Best game of my life, just because of that moment.”
Peters couldn’t hide her smile and gave fellow junior, Lexi Darnell, a bear hug after the game to not only celebrate her own achievement but her teammate’s milestone, as well. Darnell put Boone Grove on the board with a left-footed goal in the fourth minute, and aside from it being one of the biggest goals of the year, it was also the 100th goal of her career.
In just three seasons with the program, Darnell is already the Wolves’ all-time leading goal scorer. The dynamic forward broke the previous school record of 89 goals earlier this year, and she said reaching triple digits in a sectional title game was the perfect way to eclipse that total.
“It was a pretty memorable 100th goal,” said Darnell, who has scored 30 goals this season. “I honestly couldn’t have asked for more. The entire season, the team has been supporting me. Before the game, multiple people came up to me and were like, ‘If you’re going score your 100th goal, this is the game to do it.’
“And for the score to be so close and one goal be the difference? It’s crazy.”
Boone Grove (14-2) led for almost the entire game before Andrean midfielder and defender Peyton Horn scored in the 62nd minute. The senior fired a right-footed shot inside the box to tie things up and give the 59ers new life.
From then on, Andrean (8-8-2) was clearly the aggressor, and Wolves coach Ken Burbridge commended goalkeeper Holly Kerr for remaining poised. The freshman totaled 11 saves, including several diving stops to keep Boone Grove’s season alive.
Coming into the year, Burbridge said he wasn’t sure if Kerr would be ready to takeover as the starting goalie in her first prep campaign. However, following her performance on Saturday evening, he knows his team couldn't have advanced to the LaVille Regional without her.
“She was clutch, and she’s been that way day in and day out,” Burbridge said. “But our whole team played well, too. We are a very small, undersized and young team, but against the taller, bigger teams, we just gotta beat them with our skill, space and passing.”
Peters and Darnell said Burbridge told them in their first summer workout that their team had the potential to win the Porter County Conference title, take home a sectional championship and hopefully contend for a state crown.
So far, his bold predictions have held true.
“He constantly reminded us of how high our goals were set and they were possible and that we could reach all of them,” Darnell said. “Obviously, in a moment like this it shows.”
“This is what we’ve been working for,” Peters added.