INDIANAPOLIS — The Ben Davis Giants hosted the four-team Westside Classic tournament featuring the boys’ soccer teams of Covenant Christian, Plainfield, Avon, and themselves this past Saturday.
In the opening morning games, the Orioles defeated Covenant Christian 5-0 and Plainfield fell to Ben Davis 6-0.
For the evening games, Avon lost a heartbreaker in penalty kicks to Ben Davis 2-1 (7-6 penalty kicks) for the Westside Classic crown and Plainfield fell victim to a late goal and lost 2-1 to the Warriors.
“We didn’t capitalize on a few opportunities that we had, but we’ll learn from it and grow from it,” Avon coach Phil Schmidt said.
Even in defeat, Schmidt said he liked the experience playing in the Westside Classic brought his team and thinks it will benefit them later in the season.
“What a great experience for us,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons we have this tournament that come the state tournament we would have experienced over time, two games in a day and we’re trying to prepare for that. Early season losses are one thing, late season losses are a whole other thing.”
Avon’s first goal came halfway through the first half when Noah Zorniger passed it to Quinton Bridegroom who squeezed in a shot just inside the left goalpost.
“It was a nice play to find him out wide and he finished it strong side net, so it was a good play on Quinton’s part,” Schmidt said.
The Orioles led 1-0 after halftime but the Giants were the on the constant offensive and were finally able to connect. Nearly 12 minutes into the second half, Ben Davis’ Cristobal Patino-Cervantes headed a goal over goalkeeper Tyler Beam on a Sterling Steadham assist.
Neither team was able to break the tie through regulation or the two seven-minute overtime halves so the game was sent to the always-dramatic penalty kicks resolution.
After the mandatory five penalty kicks, both teams had converted four of five shots. Beam and Logan Hatter scored at the next two kicks before Ben Davis goalie Jenson Kemple made the game-deciding stop on Avon’s eighth penalty kick.
“Give them all the credit,” Schmidt said. “They played hard, they are a good team, and they were really wanting to prove that today that they were a much improved team from last year — and they did.”
Throughout the game, there were multiple stoppages for cramping and other small injuries as the two games in one day and physicality of the championship game showed its toll on both teams.
“It got physical,” Ben Davis coach Andrew Rolinson said. “It’s a physical game where both teams are vying, both teams wanted it real bad and in the second game of the day some fatigue sets in.”
In the third-place game, Plainfield showed resilience after allowing a Covenant Christian goal 8:32 into the game.
Following the Covenant Christian goal, Plainfield had a three on two opportunity but Warriors goalie Mike Schmid made a great save to prevent the goal.
Less than a minute later, the Quakers came firing back again when Skyler Beers connected on a pass to Isaac Jones in the middle of the box for an easy tap in to even the score.
Both teams remained tied and were on the verge of overtime until freshman Keaton Joseph scored the game-deciding goal with 3:11 remaining to give Covenant Christian the win.