The first half of Indy Eleven’s two-game week began with a trip to the Kentucky region to face Kings Hammer FC. Tuesday’s match for the Girls in Blue resulted in a 1-1 draw thanks to a lone goal from Katie Soderstrom. Battling a heatwave that brought extremely high temperatures to the Midwest, Head Coach Paul Dolinsky said the girls did not appear to be themselves. He said the team did not have the extra energy and punch they are accustomed to every game.
“The game was played at an incredibly slow pace for various reasons. We are not a slow pace playing team,” Dolinsky said. “The fact that it was as hot as it was definitely made the game less interesting than they usually are.”
A goal from Kings Hammer put the team up 1-nil in the opening two minutes of the contest. However, This did not deter Indy Eleven, as forward Katie Soderstrom’s lone goal in the 19th minute tied the game at halftime and eventually brought the game to a close. Soderstrom said that it was not the team’s finest performance, but she believes they battled hard and are looking forward to improving ahead of Friday’s match.
“It was definitely a hard, hard-fought battle but it wasn’t our best performance as a whole,” Soderstrom said. “But we definitely showed a lot of grit and effort and to come back from being behind so early on.”
Soderstrom’s goal on Tuesday was her sixth of the season, making her the Indy Eleven’s goal leader as well as one of the league’s top goal scorers. With a hand in half of Indy’s 17 goals thus far, Dolinsky believes she is one of the main components of the team’s success.
“With her ability to get behind defenders and create goal-scoring opportunities to score goals herself, she’s a massive impact on any team she plays for,” Dolinsky said.
Soderstrom said having the accolade is really exciting but credits her teammates for helping put her in this position.
“It comes from great play for my teammates and them setting me up,” Soderstrom said. “I’m just trying to do my part to help us win games. But, it’s all on them for putting me in those positions to succeed.”
The second part of Indy Eleven’s two-game week will conclude on Friday with a home match against Racing Louisville FC. The squad had their first taste of the Lousiville-Indianapolis Proximity Association Football Contest rivalry at Racing Lousiville on May 20, dishing up a 2-0 win. With five wins and two draws, Indy Eleven sits atop of the W League’s Great Lakes Division standings, while Louisville sits in the second place with five wins, one loss and two draws. Dolinsky acknowledged that Friday’s game is going to be pivotal, but he wants his girls to be ready for the battle. “We need to go into that game understanding that it is a game with two teams at the top of the table and as well as the rivalry game and try to beat a team twice in succession,” Dolinsky said.