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Indy Eleven women ‘fight to win’ W League national championship

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indy Eleven women have a chance to do something they’ve never done before: win a national championship.

The Ladies in Blue will host the W League final against the NC Courage U-23 on Saturday at Carroll Stadium in downtown Indianapolis after a historic season for the club.

The roster’s made up of players from ages 15-28, but the Indy Eleven women have never been so in sync.

“I think what’s a little bit different than last year is we have more depth,” center back Grace Bahr said. “We have more players who can put in more minutes and can put in really good shifts that, I think, that has separated us. The fight to win has been crazy, at least in the playoffs. It’s been really physical and really enjoyable.”

Midfielder Ella Rogers said, “We’re all talented individually but it doesn’t mean anything if we can’t come together, so I think we all just put our heads in and said, ‘We’re going to go win this thing,’ and here we are.”

The Indy Eleven women allowed only three goals throughout the entire regular season. That stout defense is complimented by a talented front row.

“Our offense is lethal,” Bahr said. “We have attackers who other defenders should be scared of. Not going to name names, not going to give away secrets, but you should be scared of who we have on attack.”

Alia Martin was on attack in last Friday’s semifinals. She netted the game winner in stoppage time to beat the San Francisco Glens and rocket the Indy Eleven women to the championship final.

“She said to me that her calves were cramping, so there was no overtime. We were not doing it,” Bahr said, laughing. “I think everyone was just stunned. But for a person that works a full time job and then comes to training and comes to games, there’s nobody more deserving.”

Head coach Paul Dolinsky said, “Just watching the girls and seeing their faces and body language, I couldn’t be happier for them. We had a little hiccup midway through the year, but since then we’ve gotten stronger and stronger each game, and I think last Friday night was indicative of the fact that these girls want to fight, and these girls want to win.”

The team hosts the championship match as a doubleheader with the men’s team. The ladies are excited to show off in front of the home town crowd.

“We really wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the Brickyard Battalion supporting us, always coming to all of our games and everything, so it should be really special,” Rogers said.

“This is what we strive for, and this is what Indy Eleven and the W League and Super League are looking for,” Bahr said. “I think it’s going to be amazing to have the fans here, to have them cheering us on in such a big stadium, and hopefully, get us that win.”

It would be a first in franchise history. The national championship kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday.