INDIANAPOLIS — The rain-induced switch to North Central’s artificial turf football field didn’t bother Avon in Saturday’s Class 2A boys’ soccer regional final versus Cathedral.
The faster track amplified Avon’s strong ball-handling and quickness, as the Orioles jumped out early and rolled to a 5-0 victory.
“We love playing on turf, and the guys’ eyes lit up when we got off the bus and saw that’s where we were playing,” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said. “We really played well as a team, moved off the ball, possessed well and just played a great tactical game.”
Cathedral (13-4-3) simply couldn’t keep up with Avon when it had the ball, which was virtually the entire 80 minutes.
“The faster pitch always suits us,” Avon’s Noah Zorniger said. “We like possessing, getting down to the end line, coming back at an angle and finishing it. That’s what we did.”
Second-ranked Avon (20-0-1) will face No. 1 Columbus North (19-0-1) in the first round of next Saturday’s semi-state at Evansville Harrison. Max Preps has the squads in reversed 1-2 order nationally, with the Orioles as the top-ranked team in the country.
Avon won a preseason match-up with the Bull Dogs, but the defending state champs had multiple players out with injuries.
“We’ve been looking forward to playing them all year,” Avon’s Quinton Bridegroom said. “The state poll has them on top, and we want to get after them and show them who we are.”
On Saturday, Avon’s offensive onslaught kicked off less than 12 minutes in when Michael Russello blasted a shot into the back of the net, one that froze Cathedral goalkeeper Greg Maginot in place with its velocity.
Six minutes before halftime, Bridegroom sent a corner kick toward the frame, off the head of Jordan Kleyn and then the foot of Taylor Kleyn for a two-goal lead.