In the huddle after Bishop Carroll's 2-0 win over Goddard, Golden Eagles girls soccer coach Greg Rauch congratulated his team on a great regular season. He emphasized "regular" because the Eagles have aspirations beyond their first 16 games.
There was nothing regular about it, though. Thursday's win moved Carroll to 15-0-1 and wrapped up its first undefeated regular season. All that kept the Eagles from an unblemished record was last month's 1-1 tie against Kapaun. The teams shared the City League title.
"The girls definitely something have to be proud of already," Rauch said. "It's just realizing now that the next step is really the ultimate goal."
A loss is about all the Eagles lack heading into the postseason. Built around a defense anchored by athletic goalkeeper Keighton Allen, Carroll notched its 13th shutout of the season Thursday.
Carroll hasn't rested on a lone dimension, though. It averaged nearly five goals in its previous four games. They just missed on several early scoring chances and outshot Goddard 16-2.
"Defense, for years, has kept us in games," Rauch said. "Now the offense is allowing the defense to take a little bit of weight off their shoulders. You can play a little bit more loosely if you've got a two- or three-goal lead."
During one stretch early against Goddard, two shots hit off the crossbar and one was inches from rolling in before it was kicked away by a Lions defender.
Carroll stayed aggressive and with nine minutes to go in the first half, Baylee Vaughn drove past a defender to create an open shot, which she converted for a 1-0 lead.
"I feel like that happens to us a lot," Carroll senior Rachel Roth said. "We're getting all these shots off and we hit the crossbar. But after you do hit the crossbar, you just keep shooting because it was so close that you can do it again. We don't hit the crossbar and just give up."
The fluidity of Carroll's offense was most evident when Roth scored a second-half goal on a header from a corner kick, finding space and taking the pass from Nichole Marean.
Carroll's domination of the ball and control of the midfield eliminated scoring chances for speedy Goddard forward Jaclyn Means and her equally fast teammates.
"Possession keeps the ball away from teams that have speed like that," Rauch said. "Knowing that we wanted to keep them out of the attack, it was definitely a game plan of ours to hold the ball as long as possible."
Goddard0 0 — 0 Bishop Carroll1 1 — 2
First half—Carroll, Vaughn (Wiesen). Second half— Carroll, Roth (Marean). Shots— Goddard 1-1—2; Carroll 6-10—16. Saves— Goddard, Moore 1-1—2; Carroll, Stricker 0-0—0, Allen 1-1—2.