After losing to Chesterton 1-0 in overtime in the 2018 IHSAA state championship, the Zionsville Community High School boys soccer team was on a mission to return.
“The guys got a taste of it and they wanted to make sure they came back,” Eagles coach Rob Jordan said.
The No. 1 Eagles (21-0-0) became the first unbeaten and untied team to win since Carmel did it in 2006 by beating unranked Lake Central 3-1 in the Class 3A state championship game Nov. 2 at Fishers High School.
It was the Eagles’ second state title. They also won in 2009 and were runners-up in 2008.
“Ten years later we thought we could do the same thing,” senior Evan Miller said. “Immediately from the get-go, we were on the same page. Everybody was playing for the same thing. It was cool to see that. Even at the training session, everyone was working hard. I don’t think we thought we were going to have that unbeaten, untied kind of momentum. Once we starting winning and having these shutouts, we went back to thinking, ‘Let’s do something incredible.’”
The state title was the first for Jordan, who has been Zionsville’s coach for nine seasons.
“There is definitely a motivating factor that you want to get back and try to correct what you didn’t do right the first time,” Jordan said. “It’s hard to get there once. To get there two times is really hard. It was a bit of a motivating factor to try to get back. More than anything, the kids like playing, they like playing together. It’s an opportunity to keep on going. It’s always about the journey.”
The Eagles won five consecutive postseason games by one goal before the final.
“If it was easy, you wouldn’t want it,” Jordan said.
Trailing 1-0 in the second half of the championship match, senior Chris Freeman scored to tie it with 18:44 left to play. Thirty-four seconds later, junior Alex Carr scored what proved to be the winning goal. Senior Ben Weidner added a goal with 2:40 left.
Freeman led the team with 13 goals and 10 assists on the season. Carr and Weidner each had 10 goals.
The Eagles lose nine seniors, including seven starters.
“We have a huge junior class that were contributing, but it’s going to be hard to replace our seniors,” Jordan said.