On Halloween night, Noblesville Girls Soccer treat themselves to another state title

The+Millers+celebrate+their+victory+after+the+state+championship+game.+The+girls+gather+up+on+the+field+to+pose+with+their+medals+and+trophy.

Photo by Abby Hoover

The Millers celebrate their victory after the state championship game. The girls gather up on the field to pose with their medals and trophy.

Bergan Zebrauskas and Kennedy Miller

For almost an hour, Sara Kile had protected the NHS goal from everything that was thrown at her. And with nine minutes left, she was staring at yet another attacker. A Guerin forward was dribbling the ball swiftly, scanning for a gap in the defense. She finds a chance, and launches a shot toward the lower right corner of the goal. But just moments before the ball can pass over the line, Kile, the Noblesville Millers’ goalkeeper, dives towards the shot. She grabs it in her hands, taking a deep breath before punting it back into play. After a concussion left her on the bench at the end of the season, Kile felt lucky to even be on the field. And now, she was nine minutes away from a back-to-back state championship.

The Millers took home their second straight IHSAA girls soccer title with a 3-0 shutout of Guerin Catholic on Saturday, October 31st. This win marks the culmination of the Millers’ two-year win streak, having not lost a single game in two seasons.

Some players felt pressure to defend their title and to maintain their winning streak. Kile was nervous before the championship game, not wanting to let her team down after returning from her injury.  

“I was out with a concussion the past four weeks, and didn’t think I would be back for the game,” Kile said. “I just felt so grateful to get this opportunity and beyond excited to be back on the field playing the game I love the most.”

Being on the sidelines made Kile more driven to push herself in the championship game. 

“Watching from the sideline made me so eager to play, and when I got the green light to get back to playing, I worked harder than ever because the feeling of winning a state championship is so amazing, and I wanted to be back out there,” Kile said. 

All season long, the team worked hard to defend their 2019 state champion title.

“This year we continued to push each other day after day at practice. We knew we had a target on our back, and I felt like it just drove us even more to get back to where we once were,” Kile said. 

As the second half of the title game wound down, Kile made a diving stop, blocking a Guerin goal attempt. Kile thinks that there is nothing better than getting the opportunity to make a good save.

“My whole body goes numb and the adrenaline kicks up, and then to hear the crowd cheering it just feels amazing,” Kile said.

The team was glad to have Kile back in goal, boosting Coach Mike Brady’s confidence for the championship game. 

“I had a conversation with Sara [Kile] prior to the game, where I asked her, ‘Are you good?’ She said, ‘Yes,’ and that’s all I needed to hear,” Brady said. “She was back and ready to end her storied career in the only way it should have ended, with her winning a championship in goal.”

Like Kile, NHS junior right forward Carlie Sack was nervous for the title game. Sack overcame her fear of letting her teammates and coaches down by scoring the first goal of the game, beginning Noblesville’s journey to victory.

“The play built up through our midfield, and Jacey [Hoopingarner, NHS midfielder] took the ball out wide and had a great cross in. The Guerin goalkeeper bobbled the ball, and my natural instinct has always been to rebound and follow shots,” Sack said. “I took advantage of this chance as soon as I saw the ball come out of the goalie’s hands and knew I just had to tap the ball forward.”

Sack was in shock after she scored the goal.

“My teammates immediately came and hugged me, which was the best feeling ever,” Sack said. “I felt relieved when the opportunity presented itself, and I was able to come through for my teammates.”

Carlie Sack scores a goal in the first half. Sack picked up the first goal of the championship game. (Photo provided by Abby Hoover)

Sack is thankful to be a part of this team and is thankful that the coaches push her to be the best version of herself.

“I really want to thank Coach Brady and Coach [Kristin] Hetzel for believing in me enough to give me the opportunity to contribute to such a talented and great group of teammates,” Sack said.

Brady led the Millers to victory last year and challenged the girls this season to try for another state championship.

“We had a number of returning players from last year’s team, and while we lost some important pieces, we knew there were players ready to step into more significant roles this year,” Brady said. “When we talked about setting the bar at another state championship, it wasn’t just coach-speak, they knew if we came together as a team, got better each game, and played like we were capable, then we could achieve that goal.”

The victory has been celebrated by not just the team, but the whole community. 

“We’re fortunate to represent such a supportive community and student body. They were out in full force at the championship game, as many of them had been all season, so it’s a championship trophy that should be shared by every Miller, and it’s serves as a reminder as to why every day is a great day to be a Miller,” Brady said.

Brady attributes the team’s steady success to their support of one another.

“We’re fortunate to have some very talented players on this team, but what makes them a Miller is that they know that their accomplishments are due to the efforts of all of their teammates. You don’t win championships with a bunch of talented individuals, you win it as a family that comes together as one, hence ‘We Are Together’,” Brady said. 

Senior Emma Potter agrees with Brady, using the term WAT, or “We Are Together,” to describe her experience on the team. 

“It really sums up how this team plays and why we play. Everything we do, we do for each other, and that is why we succeed,” Potter said.

Potter was given the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award, recognizing players who embody team spirit and sportsmanship. 

“It is an honor to win,” Potter said. “It just shows the faith that my teammates, coaches and community have in me.”

Potter said she thinks it is surreal to have won a state championship not once, but twice in her high school career.

“I feel we have created a legacy. Win or lose, the girls next year know that [these] seniors will be there to support them and cheer for them because family is forever,” Potter said. “ I cannot wait to come back to watch Miller soccer and stand proud of my former teammates.”

Goalie Sara Kile receives her 2020 soccer state champion medal. Kile made a crucial save in the second half of the game, preserving the Millers’ 3-0 lead. (Photo provided by Katie Popovich, NHS Shadow staff)

[UPDATE: The story has been edited on Tuesday 10/3 at 11:35 am to include additional information from Coach Brady.]

Additional reporting by Jane Jeong – photos provided by NHS Shadow staff.