The 2011 senior class of Sonney Basham, Mitchell Ball, Jon Good, and Brandon Query are the winningest boys' soccer team in program history. They've also added senior exchange student Marcos Usso to the mix
The seniors have 60 career high school wins, but they would like to add three more to that total as well as a state title.
"I'm smiling a little bit more than at the sectional final because I said then we had our sights set a little bit higher," head coach Dave Lilly said. "This is a special one. It wasn't the prettiest goal we've had all year, but it worked."
The goal that boosted the Tiger Cubs to the Evansville semi-state came when Brandon Query sent a high, arching shot that caught Covenant Christian keeper Hazen Hamather off-guard. The shot fought the wind, but inches just over the reach of Hamather to give Greencastle a 1-0 lead early in the first half. It would be the only goal they needed.
"It doesn't have to be three or four, all it takes is one," Lilly said. "It came off the foot of Brandon. It was a good look into the wind and that surprised the keeper and he was caught and Brandon's pretty heads up when it comes to that. He saw the opportunity, took it and it worked."
Covenant Christian had an earlier goal called off due to its player being offsides and it would be the last time a Warrior was called off. The Warriors continued to attack, but Greencastle's spacing was solid. And as Lilly pointed out after the match, Covenant Christian wasn't a sub-par opponent.
"These guys were good," he said. "Their spacing, their touches, they knew where guys were supposed to be. Some of the touches on our side where they just hooked it and kept it in -- they were a good side. There's no doubt about it and that's why they're here."
He said the Warriors' spacing was equally as good and felt they were able to stop the Tiger Cubs from doing some things they wanted to at times.
Covenant Christian had its chances in the second half, but GHS keeper Zane Miller stopped every attempt. Another Warrior shot found the back of the goal, but Miller had his hand on the ball as if was kicked through, so the goal was called off preserving the Greencastle lead.
The Warriors' best shot came with 12-minutes remaining when they sent what seemed to be a sure goal off a header only to watch as Miller extended and poked the shot just enough to send it sailing over the goal.
"Zane made a couple huge saves," Lilly said. "The header was going in if he didn't tip it off the bar. We haven't defended corner kicks all that well this year, it's been kind of an Achilles for us. We got the job done today, but it was scary a few times. We gave them a few extra (chances) that made me uneasy."
As the time ticked away and finally went to all zeros, the GHS players and fans exploded as they celebrated the program's first-ever regional championship.
"I'm happy. Hopefully I'll be happy next week like this," Lilly said with a smile.
Greencastle will face Evansville Mater Dei at noon Saturday, an opponent Lilly thinks will give his team a challenge and one if they defeat will set them up nicely for the semi-state final.
"That bodes well for us too because we'll potentially have the tougher game first. So we can let it all hang out and then whoever's in the upper part of the bracket," Lilly said.
In the upper bracket Heritage Christian and Lawrenceburg will do battle.
"We saw Heritage Christian at Anderson this summer and we handled them, so right now they may be the guys that come through on the upper part of the bracket, so if we can get through, I like our chances to get to Kuntz Stadium. We'll be ready," Lilly said.
Greencastle will face Evansville Mater Dei at noon Saturday in the second game of the Evansville Semi-State.
Greencastle 1 0 -- 1
Covenant Christian 0 0 -- 0
GHS -- Query (Smith)
Next match -- Greencastle will face Evansville Mater Dei at noon Saturday in the second game of the Evansville Semi-State.