Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 8, 2012

Pirate kickers mark banner with historical title

Greensburg blanks OA 2-0

Nick Gonnella
Greensburg Daily News

Batesville — The Greensburg boys soccer team secured the school's first-ever soccer sectional championship with a 2-0 victory over Oldenburg Academy Saturday in the Batesville Sectional 56 Tournament.

Greensburg is set to play Centerville in the Centerville Regionals Thursday at 5 p.m. The next game is Saturday at 1 p.m.

Greensburg, which improves to 12-6 on the season, avenged two earlier losses to the teams it beat for the sectional title. The Pirates had lost to Batesville and OA by the slimmest of margins, including a 1-0 setback to OA and a 3-2 loss in a sudden-death shootout against Batesville. The Pirates turned the tables on the Bulldogs in Wednesday's semifinal, 3-2 in another shootout.

“It’s a big moment for us,” said senior Tyler Burcham, who set a new school record for goals in a season. “We’ve been trying so hard for so long. We haven’t had much success in this program, but I’m just happy for all our coaches and players and everybody in this community, because in the gym right now, our banner is blank. To bring home a sectional title is big for us, big for our program, and we hope it sets a goal for every other team coming up.”

Greensburg has set a school record for goals in a regular season with 73 (including shootout scores), breaking last year’s mark of 51. However, what carried the Pirates over the top Saturday was stellar defense and shut-down goalkeeping by senior Austin Schultz, who recorded four saves.

Greensburg head coach Rick Fayette applauded Schultz and senior sweeper Riley Billieu for providing leadership to sophomore defenders Evan Bailey, Jeremy Meadows and Spencer Kuehl.

“Austin Schultz had the great shootout save against Batesville for the win,” said Fayette, “and Riley Billieu has made several great plays and stops in both sectional matches that prevented goals from being scored. While a lot of focus is on the offense in every sport, I would like to take time to recognize the Pirates’ defense. Since the Sept. 22 Lawrenceburg match, the defense has tightened up, continued to improve and has kept the team in several matches with several shutouts.”

Junior Tye Fleetwood started the scoring off an assist by Burcham at 14:04. Later in the first half, Burcham scored off a direct kick after an OA foul at 12:43.

“The first half started out slow, and the second half we were getting tired, but we ended up pulling it out to give us a lot of momentum going into regionals,” said senior Chase McCreary.

Greensburg took nine shots on goal and OA took four.

“The match was very physical and both teams played hard,” said Fayette. “This team is well rounded with a very good offense and defense. I hope fans recognize the effort of our players on both sides of the ball.”

Billieu said Saturday’s strategy was clear.

“We didn’t want them to score,” he said. “Outwork them – that’s all you have to do, read the balls better than they do and make them make mistakes. We wanted to make up for that loss earlier in the season. It felt really good. I’m really happy.”

After postgame handshakes and gathering on the field, Fayette was doused with the water cooler. After returning to Greensburg, the team bus was escorted around town by emergency vehicles from the Greensburg police and fire departments.

Senior Chase McCreary said the community has a big reason to celebrate.

“I’m just glad to finally get something up on that banner in the high school gym,” he said. “It was awesome. Losing to Batesville twice in the regular season – once, they came back to beat us when we were up 2-0, coming out and then winning that (semifinal) game was awesome. Burcham and Riley kept us going and kept our spirits high when we were down. Burcham had that first goal and just fired us all back up, and we came back and had a heck of a game. We really deserved that win against Oldenburg the first time, but it doesn’t always happen, so we came out and we played hard today.”

Schultz described the experience of capping his high school career with a title.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Schultz. “For only starting soccer my freshman year, and playing four years in a row, it’s a good way to end my senior year. Coming back and beating the two teams that beat us in the regular season, we had two big wins. It was a fun ride.”

Burcham said winning the title also helped validate the records and success of last year’s squad.

“We all work hard, and we have our goof-off moments, but this year we had a couple close games that we lost,” he said. “We knew that we were in them, and we knew that a couple plays here and there, and we were in every single one of those games. Last year we won more games, but this year we won them when it counted. It’s a proud moment for the seniors last year that didn’t win – I see them right now pretty much crying, because this is so exciting.”

Billieu thanked the large number of fans that made the trip for the game.

“I’m glad they came out here to support us,” he said. “We don’t usually have that big of a crowd for soccer games.”

Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.