The school’s first state title. The state’s Player and Coach of the Year. Two All-Americans.
You name it, Brebeuf Jesuit’s girls soccer team achieved it last season. And the Braves aren’t done just yet.
“We only lost one senior starter, so we come back fully loaded,” said coach Angela Berry White, whose team begins its season at home against Noblesville on Wednesday. “We also have a talented group of underclassmen that … even if they didn’t get much time to play last year, will be able to contribute this year.”
Michigan recruit Alia Martin will once again lead the way. A three-time first team all-state selection, Martin had 14 goals and 29 assists in an award-filled season — Gatorade Indiana Player of the Year, Indiana Sports Awards Girls Soccer Player of the Year and All-America honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
In addition to Martin, the Braves also return several upperclassmen, including senior Lauren Turner and junior Reni Osuntokun in goal. However, they were dealt a blow this summer when All-American Ryanne Brown tore her ACL. The Wake Forest recruit will not play this season.
The Braves — who finished 22-2-1, culminating with a 2-1 win over Penn in the Class 2A state title game — are ranked No. 3 nationally in the fall FAB 50 High School Soccer Team rankings, which looks at high school girls soccer teams across 27 states that are set to begin their fall seasons. So, it’s easy to understand why the bar remains high in 2016.
Zionsville back on the radar
The fun ended for the Zionsville girls soccer team not long after it began last season, starting with an upset win over No. 1 Carmel in the sectional championship and ending two games later in a 3-1 loss to the eventual state champion Braves.
The loss marked the third time in the past four seasons that the Eagles have won their sectional but lost in the regional — falling in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Unlike last year, though — when the Eagles lost significant depth from the year before and were mostly able to stay under the radar during the season — the Eagles return 16 of last year’s 18 varsity players, including nine starters, for 2016 and are once again primed to contend.
The Eagles, who rank No. 24 nationally on the FAB 50, open their season Monday against North Central.
Greyhounds look to bounce back
An upset loss to Zionsville in the sectional championship last year left Carmel hungry for more in 2016.
“That was probably the most devastating loss we’ve ever had,” said Greyhounds coach Frank Dixon, who led Carmel to five consecutive state titles from 2000-04 and another in 2011. “I’ve never seen kids so unhappy.
“(Now) they’re a mix of some experienced kids and some new kids, and I think they’re going to be very hungry.”
The Greyhounds lost 11 seniors from last season but return four starters, including leading scorer and IUPUI commit Jessi Cowen.
Contact IndyStar sports writer Jordan Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: at @wilsonable07.