DEMOTTE — The difference in Westville girls soccer's 4-0 loss to Kouts in the first round of the sectional Tuesday night can simply be described in a couple of statistics.
The Fillies' first shot on goal came less than 20 seconds into the game, while the Blackhawks' first shot took 25 minutes to occur. On top of that, Kouts had 17 shots on goal on the night, compared to Westville's two.
The Blackhawks' offensive woes and inability to maintain possession on the attack plagued them mightily in the end, and the Fillies capitalized on that. Westville keeper Maddie Stark was getting peppered with shots all night long due in part to her team's turnovers.
Her defense played well in front of her, though, making the score closer than it could have been. The Blackhawks' defenders got in the way of multiple shots, taking some pressure off Stark's shoulders. But a costly handball inside the box in the 23rd minute gave Kouts a penalty kick, and the floodgates opened up.
The Fillies got some serious momentum from the converted penalty kick that barely missed the outstretched left fingertips of a diving Stark. They found the back of the net two more times in the next seven minutes to really blow the game apart, thwarting just about any chance Westville had of coming back.
"We got really down after that handball," said Westville coach Brian Ton. "(Kouts) took advantage of that and scored a couple more quick goals, and we couldn't overcome them. The second half was a lot more even, though. I'm proud of how we played there. We fought a lot harder."
The loss wasn't all bad for the Blackhawks though. They return 11 of 15 players going into next season and gained valuable experience this year. A team that was nearly half sophomores in 2019 will have one more year to mature and grow, and Ton is hopeful for next season.
"We only have four seniors," he said. "So getting these girls to play in games not only like tonight but the ones we played all season is great. We played teams like Marquette and Morgan (Township) really close this year, and that's something to build off, for sure."
However, a first-round exit is a disappointing finish for senior captains Sydney Patla and Chloe Fortune. Patla anchored Westville's defense and midfield the past couple years, while Fortune was one of the team's main orchestrators on offense.
"I didn't think I was going to cry today, but here I am," Patla said. "You watch every year, the seniors get older. And you know that's going to be you one day, but it comes so fast."
"I started crying when I saw her cry," Fortune added. "Soccer has been my whole life for the past four years. I can't believe I won't play anymore. We're going to the next chapter of our lives, though, which is exciting. Sad to end, but happy to move on."
Class A Covenant Christian Sectional
Kouts 4, Westville 0
The Blackhawks were outshot 17-2.