INDIANAPOLIS — In a defensive chess match with Hoosier Crossroads Conference rival Fishers, the Avon girls’ soccer team pulled the ultimate checkmate for its first state championship.
Cassidy Blacha knocked in a corner kick from Hope Van Wagner with 1:28 left in the first overtime, and Fishers failed to threaten the rest of the way, as the Orioles took the Class 2A crown with a 1-0 victory Saturday at IUPUI.
Fittingly, Blacha, who was nothing short of spectacular in the postseason, made the play that delivered the biggest win in program history.
“It was coming in and I had to change my run because I wasn’t running the same play as Bailee (Storms),” Blacha said. “Then I just came in, hit it and it didn’t touch the ground. It was awesome.”
Avon (18-2-3) tied 1-1 with Fishers (16-3-3) in September, and Saturday’s contest on the state’s biggest stage was a similar battle.
“It was really back-and-forth,” Blacha said. “We just had to control the middle, do our job and work together. We did a really good job of that against a really tough team.”
Adding to the celebration, Avon four-year letter-winner Sarah Zolcak was awarded the 2A Girls Mental Attitude Award.
“This is great,” Zolcak said. “From where we started in the summer conditioning to today, the conditioning really paid off. With our boys playing here, too, and the spirit here, it’s just amazing.”
While Avon had plenty of young talent, Orioles coach Eric Nance said Zolcak and the team’s five other seniors were the reason this year’s team took the title.
“This group of seniors was awesome this year,” Nance said. “Our leadership was great. Everyday in practice they worked. The intensity in practice was better than any season I’ve been here.”
Saturday’s first half played out like a 40-minute feeling-out period, as both teams probed for weaknesses and found none. Van Wagner had the two best scoring looks of the half, as she hit a free kick off the crossbar and headed a bar-shot from Miranda Ricks just over the goal.