Guerin Catholic’s boys soccer team ended the 2013 postseason the way it entered it: on top of the rest of Class A. After a regular season laced with games against 2A powers, the Eagles surrendered just one overtime goal in the tournament, outscoring its six opponents 17-1.
With seven starters back, along with both goalies, the Eagles appear poised for a run at another title.
Meanwhile in 2A, Avon — which rose as high as No. 2 in the nation a year ago before falling 3-1 in overtime to Crown Point in the state championship — returns six starters and could make another deep postseason run. Some of Avon’s stiffest competition should come in Central Indiana, where traditional powers Carmel and Center Grove also look strong.
FIVE TEAMS TO WATCH
Guerin Catholic. The Eagles should again be one of the top programs around. Back is all-state defender Andrew Kaskie, along with goalies Tarcisio Trujillo and Peter St. Armand, who combined to allowed just four goals in more than 1,200 minutes. Offensively, Jacob Cloran is back after scoring 10 goals, while Luke Bestard (six goals, seven assists) and Khalid Hunter (seven goals) also both return. “As far as (repeating), we try to focus on the process that gives us an opportunity to achieve success,” coach John Cech said. “We all know what the ultimate prize is. However, we realize that many things have to occur so that we are able to create the best opportunity possible.”
Avon. The Orioles were dominant last season before falling in the title game, outscoring their first 23 opponents 85-10. Back from that squad is all-state player and Indiana University-bound Jordan Kleyn and midfielders Andrew Killion, Michael Russello and Logan Hatter. “It’s a new year and a new team,” coach Phil Schmidt said. “It’s important to not try to be last year’s team again. We need to create a new identity and a new (camaraderie) that can take us far again. We certainly have the talent and the drive to contend again, but we know that there are a lot of excellent teams in the area.”
Fishers. Seven starters return for a team that went 10-3-5 and lost in the sectional final. Back are Aven Bufkin (14 goals, six assists) and Keenan Kadem, as is goalie Trey Beatty, who had a 0.89 goals-against average. The Tigers also add highly touted Alex Nichols. This team has a great core of leaders who spent a lot of time on the field last year,” coach Robbie Pels said. “We have the utmost respect for our competition, but we have set high goals for ourselves which we believe are all obtainable.”
Center Grove. The Trojans return the core from a team that went 16-4-1 and advanced to the semistate a year ago, led by Kyle Parry, Brock Exline, Collin Patterson, Nathan Silva and Bradley Bennett. The squad also will benefit from a JV team that was undefeated in 2013. “With those two things in mind I believe we have a chance to compete to move on in the postseason,” coach Todd Sheely said. “We played 27 kids last year in a varsity game, and hopefully that will give us some experience moving forward.”
Carmel. The Greyhounds are 28-5-6 over the past two seasons but have lost in the regional each season. But with eight letter winners back, including two starters and a sub who saw extensive minutes, coach Shane Schmidt believes his squad can compete on both the conference and state level. “The goals we set for ourselves are to win the MIC conference championship and the state championship,” Schmidt said. Back are starters Jake Heckenberg (four assists) and James Young (three assists), top sub Matt Saltsgaver (two goals), and P.J. Gibson (seven goals) and Chad Baker (two goals, three assists).
FIVE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jordan Kleyn, Avon. The spark in the potent Orioles offense and a first-team all-state selection in 2013, Kleyn totaled 25 goals and 20 assists.
Andrew Kaskie, Guerin Catholic. Kaskie scored just twice last year, but he made his presence known on defense, earning second-team all-state honors.
Jake Yerkes, Brebeuf Jesuit. A second-team all-state player, Yerkes scored a school-record 21 goals and added six assists in helping the Braves to a sectional title.
Jeremiah Rader, Covenant Christian. After helping the Warriors to a Class A state finals appearance in 2012, Rader came back with 20 goals and nine assists last fall.
Alex Nichols, Fishers. Nichols didn’t play for the Tigers last season, but has plenty of experience, having spent the past three seasons playing for the Indiana Fire Juniors of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. The defender is listed as one of the top players in Indiana in the Class of 2015.