The “family” link carries Burris as a section heading
FAIRLAND, Ind. – When Muncie Burris’ women’s football won the program’s first sectional title last year, it meant everything.
The Owls didn’t expect their regional, and they didn’t care. Their season goals of a winning record (10-8) and a championship have been achieved.
Many of those same girls returned this fall, hoping to repeat the feat. None of them, however, expected to set so many records.
This group of Burris set new bests for wins (15-1), shutouts (12) and goals by a player (Sophia Johnson, 38) in a single season. 2022 was easily the biggest campaign in the program’s history, and Saturday’s 3-1 Divisional Championship win over Wapahani at Triton Central High School was the latest achievement in a momentous year.
“After all these years of the Burris women’s soccer team trying hard in the sections, and many times getting to the finals but not winning, it’s so great to finally win two years in a row. “, Johnson said. “I’ve never been part of a team that felt so much like family before. We all love and trust each other and get along great on and off the pitch.”
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It’s obvious that the Owls form a cohesive unit when watching them play. Constant communication can be heard and the girls always seem to know where others are on the court.
Johnson said confidence was the main key to their success, especially defensively. Burris outscored opponents 95-10 on the year, rarely allowing opponents to get shots on goal, let alone put one in the net.
Freshman goaltender Neela Cormier-Marri was also a star addition and made 66 saves on the year.
Head coach Isidro Alvarado is constantly in awe of her and has seen his players develop the ability to almost always know what to do. They are never in the wrong place and they trust each other to do their job properly.
Johnson admitted the belief didn’t exist in previous seasons and that was why the team was outscored 63-60 in 2021. Now defense is the backbone of Burris.
“We wouldn’t be the team we are without them,” said junior forward Sarah Edmonds. “(The defense and the goalkeeper) work really well together… It really is a complete team, which is great.”
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The team’s offense is led primarily by Johnson and Edmonds, who had 83 and 64 points respectively. Johnson’s 38 goals rank 22nd in the nation and Edmonds’ 28 assists rank seventh, according to MaxPreps.
They feel their skills complement each other well, with Johnson being the energizer and Edmonds the tactician. Very few Class A opponents can stop them.
The duo would never have existed, however, if Edmonds hadn’t moved from the Raiders to the Owls. Saturday was a unique experience for her, but she is happy to have been welcomed by her new team.
“It was kind of a loop for me today. Lots of emotions,” Edmonds said. “Obviously I was playing against some of my old teammates and friends so it was hard to be on the other side, but I liked being on the other side with those teammates.”
Johnson is glad Edmonds has also changed schools. Johnson has scored 16 more goals this season than last, breaking the school record for goals in a single game with five on August 27 and 32 goals in a season including two against Wapahani in the last match of the league. regular season.
While she was happy to reach a milestone she had been looking for since freshman year, Johnson acknowledges how much impact Edmonds and others have had on her achievement.
“Without my team, I couldn’t have scored those goals. I’m just the one who put it in the back of the net,” Johnson said. “Very few of my goals were the ones where I dribbled it down the pitch. It was almost all the ball that was passed to me by a bunch of other team-mates… It’s really good to know that I broke the record, but it really was a team record, not just me.”
She is, however, gifted with incredible speed. It makes the job of his teammates much easier knowing that they can often just pass a ball far ahead and let it outrun defenders.
Alvarado enjoys watching the footage every time and can’t help but draw comparisons.
“It reminds me of my old days. When you have the spark, the desire and the passion to play football, it keeps me young,” Alvarado said. “It allows me to be a coach.”
Burris’ only game lost this season was 3-0 to No. 1 Park Tudor on Sept. 13, and the Owls will face them again in their regional.
When Burris lost their 2021 regional game to Heritage Christian 8-0, the team didn’t care too much. Both Johnson and Alvarado said the girls had already made history and weren’t expecting more.
But after so many strong performances so far, the Owls want more. They know it will be a daunting task, but they rise to the challenge rather than concede defeat. They don’t want the ride to end.
“Because we have this very, very good record, we have a bit more confidence going into the regional game, and we think we might actually have a chance,” Johnson said. “Our work ethic has gradually improved and we are so determined to go as far as we can and break even more records if possible.”