BROWNSBURG — Always a battle, Saturday’s meeting between Avon and Brownsburg with the Sectional 18 boys’ soccer title on the line didn’t disappoint.
Avon got a goal with 10 minutes remaining in the match, as the Orioles got by their county and conference rival, 2-1.
“It was a classic Avon-Brownsburg game, and I’m glad we came out on top,” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said. “Brownsburg played a great game and they really made us earn it today.”
Avon (18-0-1) will face Brebeuf (13-4-4) at 5 p.m. Thursday at North Central. The victor will face the winner between Carmel and Cathedral.
Finally at full strength, Brownsburg (6-6-4) gave its best effort in pushing the second-ranked Orioles throughout.
“A month ago we were injured, and our goal was to be successful in October,” Brownsburg coach Todd Frost said. “We took care of players and got them healthy, and we knew we could make it interesting as long as we were healthy.
“We respect Avon and hope they do well.”
Brownsburg had a good chance to strike first with 20 minutes left in the first half, when Nick Price sent a cross in front of the goal to Tyler Margetts, whose shot went just over the crossbar.
Avon nearly scored on a shot to the top-left corner by Jonathan Kopp, but a tip-save by Patrick Holden kept it out. Five minutes later, though, Kopp scored, as he took a ricochet off the left post and put it in the goal.
Avon’s Brandon Williams picked up a yellow card nine minutes into the second half, and Brownsburg’s Jack Griffith tied it a minute later on a penalty kick stemming from another Oriole foul.
Avon pulled ahead with 10 minutes left on a goal from an unlikely source. Houston Moran, who moved between varsity and JV this season, scored the biggest goal of his life, as he fought around Holden to eek a shot into the left side of the net.
“The ball came in front of me, Patrick was coming at me and I got it in, luckily,” Moran said.
Schmidt put Moran in on a gut-decision.
“I thought his speed and fresh legs could give us a boost, and he ends up with an assist and the game-winning goal,” Schmidt said. “He hasn’t played a lot of varsity minutes, so to come in and make plays in the sectional final, I think he’ll remember that for a long time.”
Brownsburg had one quality chance to tie it, but Cameron Mattern’s shot was thwarted by a diving save from Avon goalkeeper Tyler Shanahan.
While Avon moves on, Brownsburg faces the task of replacing its 13-man senior class.
“That group has given so much to this program. It’s monumental,” Frost said. “Every year I hate it when (seniors) leave. It takes a little piece of me each time.”