The Covenant Christian boys’ soccer team is making school history and they aren’t done yet.
With two wins in Saturday’s semistate at Floyd Central, the Warriors (10-12-1) are headed to the state finals — a first in any team sport in school history.
The IHSAA Class 1A boys’ soccer championship against Fort Wayne Canterbury (15-6-1) is 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27 at the Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium at IUPUI.
“You put it down on your board that your goal is to get to state and we’re here and we’re very excited to be in this position,” Covenant coach Michael Johnson said.
Even with the Warriors sitting at a sub .500 record, they expected to be in this position.
“With the way the season was set out, we expected to get out of regionals just because we were familiar with all of those teams and our goal has been to get to state and definitely win,” Johnson said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet though that we’re here.”
Johnson received solid scouting reports from area coaches entering the morning Greensburg game and the information paid off as the Warriors won 3-0. Jon Christensen scored two goals and Keaton Joseph converted another.
“We knew who the good players were and what weaknesses they had, so we exploited those all game,” Johnson said. “We just took what they gave us and put in three goals.”
In the semi-state final game against Providence, Covenant had the luxury of fresh legs compared to its opponent. Providence defeated Evansville Mater Dei 3-2 in overtime in the later of the morning games. The less than five-hour turnaround for Providence no doubt helped the Warriors.
Covenant won 2-1 after getting a goal from Jeremiah Rader with six minutes left in the first half to tie the score and Ian Oechsle scored the go-ahead goal with 16 minutes remaining in the game.
“Our center midfielders really dominated that second game for us,” Johnson said. “We got great play out of everybody.”
Now the 2011 defending state champions stand in the way of the Warriors winning the school’s first-ever state championship. Canterbury has won four boys’ soccer state championships, the second most in the state. Johnson knows about the Cavaliers’ rich history in soccer and respects their opponent.
“We just know from history’s past that even when I was in high school they were a dominant team when there were no classes, and they’re still a very good team,” he said. “They have six losses, so they can be beat. They’re just very talented in all of their positions and they have a pretty good guy up front that we’re going to have to keep our eye on.”
As much as Covenant’s run has blazed a new trail for school history, to emerge Saturday as state champions would be remarkable.
“It means everything to me,” Johnson said. “I played college soccer and we were able to go to the national tournament my senior year. That’s come and gone and this would mean so much more. And for the guys, we really came on late in the season and they’ve been committed through thick and thin all year. Out of anything I’ve been involved with athletically, this would be the best thing.”