INDIANAPOLIS — After ending the Avon boys’ soccer team’s season a year ago in the opening round of regional play on penalty kicks, Brebeuf knew it would get the Orioles’ best shot Thursday night at North Central.
In the first game of this season’s regional semifinal, Avon improved on a 1-0 halftime lead and stretched it into a lopsided 4-0 win.
While No. 2-ranked Avon is focused on a deeper postseason run, that doesn’t mean the Orioles didn’t enjoy the victory.
“We talked about it and it was in the back of our minds that we did not want to see our season end here again to Brebeuf tonight,” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said. “The guys showed a lot of heart and a lot of energy.”
Avon played more aggressively early on and nearly converted two goals in the first 10 minutes, but could not connect.
However, the Orioles’ perseverance paid off.
Jeremy Locke’s free kick from near midfield found teammate Quinton Bridegroom in Brebeuf’s box and he sent a hard, left-footed shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net past Braves keeper Sam Mohr.
“Jeremy had a good free kick and the defender misjudged it, it just dropped right on my foot and I put away,” Bridegroom said.
As a senior, Bridegroom remembered the awful feeling of Avon’s loss on PKs to Brebeuf last season and the victory was a bit sweeter than this year’s opening win over the Braves.
“We think about that all the time,” Bridegroom said. “We thought about that the first time we played them at the beginning of the season and we especially harped on it this game back at the locker room.”
Brebeuf surged out of the half until Avon’s Logan Hatter took a pass from Jonathan Kopp and buried it past Brebeuf’s Austin Bodner for a 2-0 advantage just over 12 minutes into the half.
Houston Moran scored with 14:01 remaining after Bodner came out to face him one-on-one. Moran dribbled around Bodner for the easy score and 3-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Evan Snodgrass drove the ball deep to the end line and crossed back to the goal, hitting a Brebeuf defender and ricocheting into the goal for Avon’s last score.
“Evan worked to get the ball to the end line and back at an angle,” Schmidt said. “It’s not rocket science, a lot of times the other team will put it in for you. That was a great play to get there and get his hips turned.”
Avon (19-0-1) now takes on Cathedral (13-3-3) in the regional final at 4 p.m. Saturday at North Central.
“I think Cathedral is pretty strong defensively from what I understand,” Schmidt said. “We’ll have our hands full on Saturday and we’ll see if we can keep moving forward.”