Hendricks County Flyer
— Having gone to a football school in the heart of basketball country, I was never around soccer in my youth, and thus haven’t been a soccer guy in adulthood.
The 2013 Avon girls’ and boys’ soccer teams did a lot to change that over the past few weeks.
The Orioles’ thrilling runs came an end Saturday at IUPUI, as the girls won their first Class 2A state title over Fishers and the boys lost an overtime heartbreaker to Crown Point.
The postseason began like most others. The boys notched a couple of one-goal wins to take the Brownsburg sectional, and then whipped Brebeuf and Cathedral by a combined 9-0 margin to reach the Evansville semi-state. Meanwhile, the girls went unchallenged in the Plainfield sectional before a pair of 1-0 regional wins also put them in the same venue three hours to the south.
On that semi-state Saturday in Evansville, the story of the season changed, from one of two separate teams to a singular, driven organism pursuing a dream.
I have witnessed sporting events in 21 different states and the District of Columbia. I have seen some amazing events, and can usually recognize them early on as they happen. I knew when I pulled into the parking lot after the three-hour hike on that chilly morning that it would be a unique day, but had no idea just how much so in the end.
The girls started the day with a win over Columbus East, and the boys followed with a victory over No. 1 Columbus North, which put the Oriole squads on fields about 25 feet apart at the same time that night. While the morning crowd turnout was solid, when word of those wins reached Avon, more made their way south for the finales, including many students.
That night, the boys wrapped up their title about five minutes before the girls’ finish. When those who were in the stands for the boys’ game erupted, those cheers brought the girls’ supporters across the way to their feet, and they yelled in wild unison.
After the boys posed for a couple photos, with the girls’ successful conclusion, senior Noah Zorniger said, “Let’s get over there and celebrate with the girls.” Zorniger and the Orioles worked through the crowd, and once on the neighboring pitch, hit a dead-sprint toward their female classmates, and the teams leaped and screamed together in unbridled joy with their trophies held high.
I’d seen a lot before that day, but I’d never seen anything like that. Things like that just don’t happen, especially with the stakes so high.
In my business, you’re taught to possess total neutrality, but only people with no athletic history can do that. I do what I do for the emotional fix I get from watching and describing spirited competition, and sometimes teams reel me in with an extremely entertaining mix of talent and personality.
Both the Avon girls and boys did that this fall.
The state champion girls had an incredible mix of age and youth, as multiple players from each class played important roles. Cassidy Blacha and Kelsey Dossey were undeniable stars, but the Orioles’ depth and teamwork were beyond exceptional.
I didn’t think the Oriole boys could lose on Saturday, but also knew from experience that even the best teams don’t always win. As they walked off the field for the final time together, I recalled what former Butler hoops coach Brad Stevens once told me, that the journey together is more important than any end result.
One team won a title on Saturday and the other didn’t, but it is their journey together that I’ll remember most. As Zorniger’s memorable cheer after every game indicated, they hunted as a pack, and despite different conclusions, their stories are now one.
– Brent Glasgow is a sports writer for the Hendricks County Flyer. He can be reached at email@example.com or at (317) 272-5800, ext. 190. Follow him on Twitter @BGlasgow37.