Greensburg Daily News
The Greensburg boys soccer team recorded the first regional soccer championship in school history. The Pirates scored a pair of second-half goals to defeat Heritage Christian 2-1 Saturday in the Centerville Regional Tournament.
The Pirates improved to 14-6 overall, tying last year's school record for wins in a season. Greensburg will play Indianapolis Covenant Christian (8-12-1) Saturday at 10 a.m. in the Floyd Central Semi-State.
Head coach Rick Fayette saw his defense and senior goalkeeper Austin Schultz shut down the Eagles after his team rallied to tie the game.
“Once they got ahead,” said senior defender Riley Billieu, “we couldn’t give up. We’re a good enough team to make a comeback. We just kept trucking.”
Schultz noted that making school history is special to Greensburg.
“It means a lot,” said Schultz. “We haven’t gotten this far. To win it, it’s big for the school.”
After a scoreless first half, coach Fayette made adjustments to the second-half lineup to match up better with the Eagles. Switching positions, Zach Fong moved to striker, and senior Edgar Cruz moved to midfield.
HC senior Michael Brocker broke the scoreless tie with a nice shot to the upper-right corner of the net. Pirate goalkeeper Austin Schultz jumped and reached for the ball, but sailed just past his reach.
The Pirates took four shots on goal, including one free kick, while the Eagles took two shots.
As they have done all postseason, the Pirates fought back and rallied. Burcham took an extra touch and passed the ball to an open Fong, who drilled a kick into the net. The goal knotted the game at the 20:40 mark of the second half.
“I saw him coming around, and the defense followed him,” said Fong of Burcham. “I saw space. He dropped it perfectly. It was a perfect setup and all I had to do was finish.”
The physical match continued as the team’s alternated possession, but neither squad would surrender for the next 14 minutes. Finally, with 6:08 left in the game, senior Jacob Ray made a nice pass to Burcham. The scoring leader for Greensburg put his team on top for good with the go-ahead goal.
“Everyone worked as a team and kept communicating,” said senior Edgar Cruz, who tallied a hat trick in the regional semifinal. “We never give up. We kept working hard. That’s why we’re a team and keep talking as a team.”
Fayette noted that both teams took seven shots on goal during the second half.
According to Fayette, Burcham was removed from the match to get a drink and discuss defensive strategy. Fayette added that the Pirates never had a chance to sub Burcham back in.
“It was really intense having our leading scoring and senior team leader on the sideline for the last six minutes,” said Fayette, “rather than in the game playing midfield.”
HC intensified its attack with several runs, primarily on the right side of the field, but Schultz and the defense countered attacks by matching the intensity.
Schultz had nine saves for the win.
“Schultz was making big plays,” said Fong. “The whole back line was working hard the whole game to keep them off and not giving up a shot. It was a full team effort.”
Schultz, though, applauded Burcham and the offensive players for the win.
“I give all my credit to the offense,” said Schultz, “and the defense for staying strong and not giving up a goal again. Burcham did a great job. Without him, we wouldn’t have had an assist, and we wouldn’t have had a goal.”
Burcham described the feelings he and his teammates shared throughout the second half of the game.
“We all never gave up,” he said. “I don’t think anyone on our team ever gives up until the clock reaches zero.”
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.