By Ryan Palencer
INDIANAPOLIS — The Avon boys’ soccer team gave Brebeuf absolutely all that they could handle before falling to the Braves by penalty kicks in the regional semi-final Thursday night.
“The guys played really hard,” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said. “Obviously we came out on the losing end tonight, but I’m really proud of my guys and my seniors for stepping up. They had great careers. We’re really going to miss them. Just overall, I thought our guys gave a great effort tonight.”
After three near misses in the first half by the Orioles, Avon’s Sam Camp capitalized, scoring on a penalty kick with 11:46 remaining in the half.
With just over two minutes remaining before the break, Brebeuf had a chance to score but Ryan Penny’s missed just over the crossbar.
The score remained 1-0 in Avon’s advantage until less than 25 minutes remained in the contest.
Brebeuf’s Joe Froehle evened the score on a penalty kick, following an Avon hand ball with 24:41 remaining in regulation.
After three more near misses midway through the second half, Avon broke through again on a goal by Lorenzo Aquilar with 6:46 remaining in regulation to give the Orioles a 2-1 adavantage.
However, that lead did not stick as Froehle scored for the Braves on another penalty kick following an Orioles violation in the box with 4:47 remaining to take the game to overtime.
Schmidt pointed to not being able to put the ball in the net on some good scoring opportunities as a reason for the defeat.
“We had some near misses that could have secured the game,” he said. “We couldn’t quite find the net, but give Brebeuf a lot of credit. They came out, played hard, and stayed with it. They fought back and made the plays that they had to make.”
After two scoreless overtime sessions, the game went to penalty kicks where Brebeuf defeated Avon, 4-2.
In addition to the trip to the regional semi-finals, the 2012 campaign was viewed as a success for the Orioles, despite a significant influx of youth.
“We had a really young team this year,” Schmidt said. “We played five or six sophomores a lot, and two freshmen quite a bit, a lot of juniors. We had to come along as a team as the season went along. But these guys really come together as a team and we pride ourselves on being at family at Avon soccer. I thought this team really developed that bond as the season went on.”
However, for Schmidt, the memories of the seniors on this team will live on.
“That’s the hardest part of this,” he said. “It’s not losing the game, it’s saying goodbye to seniors and seeing the heartbreak in my family’s eyes. I love these guys and it’s so much fun to coach them. The saddest part is knowing that we don’t have practice tomorrow.”
With the momentum built and several returning players, the tradition that has become Avon soccer will go on.
“We have a lot to look forward to,” Schmidt said. “Our future is really bright with the young players who played well all season and tonight. I’m excited about our future. I’m proud of these guys, proud of this season, and excited to see what we have in the future.”