The Tiger Cubs will face No. 2 Evansville Mater Dei in their semi-state opener and for head coach Dave Lilly he knows his team has earned the right to be playing in Evansville, but knows its going to be a tough challenge.
"(It was) definitely was exciting to win the regional," Lilly said. "Now I know we will need to bring our best effort in order to advance over No. 2 Mater Dei in the first semi-state round on Saturday. (I am) calm today and hope to bring that along to the bench area on Saturday. We have been highly ranked in Class A all season, No. 5 preseason and finished No. 8 in the ISCA poll, so we know that we belong there and I expect us to be competitive."
Lilly also noted that his team will need to play its A-game for the entire match against a deep Mater Dei unit.
"They will be very talented and deep as a unit. At this point in the season, it's the little things the team must execute on that will determine the outcome. We will need to stay mentally focused for all 80 minutes," Lilly said.
Due to personal business, Lilly has been absent for most of this week's practices, but has left the team in the capable hands of his assistant coaches. The week gives the team a chance to heal up before heading south.
They've also had a chance to practice indoors at DePauw and also planned to practice at night so they could get used to playing under the lights in case they find themselves in the semi-state finals.
Anyone who has followed the Tiger Cubs this season knows of the success of its senior class. The foursome of Sonney Basham, Jon Good, Brandon Query and Mitchell Ball has recorded 60 career wins, becoming the winningest class in boys' soccer history at GHS. They've added another senior weapon this season when exchange student Marcos Usso joined the squad.
Lilly said the success of his core group comes down to their love of the sport.
"Definitely their commitment to soccer in the off-season (non-school)," Lilly said. "They all play club soccer which allows them to compete year round. I also believe our participation at team camp this summer helped everyone get off to an early start by providing training, conditioning and competition prior to the start of our regular season."
With all the success the boys' program has experiences leading into and during this season, Lilly hopes the commitment at all levels remains high. He said for the school to host a regional round of the IHSAA tournament was a big indicator that people have been paying attention to the program's success.
"Getting to host the regional round after the two-class IHSAA tournament realignment was big for us," Lilly explained "I believe the fact that we had recent success in winning a couple of sectional titles in single class play definitely helped during the selection process. This season should validate Greencastle's selection by IHSAA as a premier host site for soccer in our class.
"We need to stay committed to field improvement in order to remain the host (regional) site or possibly semi-state. I hope it also helps to bring out interest by more student athletes, which will be needed next year, so that we can play a full JV and varsity schedule," Lilly added.
Greencastle will face Evansville Mater Dei at the Evansville semi-state at noon Saturday.