After Columbus East boys soccer coach Brad Barber finished his victory speech to his team Saturday afternoon, a fan presented him with a poster to show to his team.
The poster featured photos of the most recent Olympians squad to win a boys soccer sectional in 2005. They ended a 10-year drought Saturday by rolling to a 5-0 win against Seymour in the East Sectional final.
“Our senior class has been wanting it for four years,” said senior Ramiro Nieto, who scored two goals and assisted on another. “It’s been a goal of ours, and all the work we put in has paid off.”
East (12-4-1) advances to the Columbus North Regional, where it will meet East Central in the semifinals at 8 p.m. Thursday. The championship match is at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“It’s a pretty big deal to me,” said senior Caleb Glass, who had a pair of assists. “I’ve never really had this experience. I’m trying to enjoy it now.”
The Olympians got on the board in the 11th minute when Sam Newell buried a free kick from 30 yards. But a few minutes later, the Owls (11-6-2) had a couple of chances to tie the game. They had a corner kick in the 16th minute and a free kick in the 17th minute, and Matthew Pyle sent a shot just wide in the 18th minute.
After that, the rest of the first half was all East. Nieto finished a long pass from Glass in the 29th minute, Andrew Thomasson finished another lead pass from Glass in the 35th minute and Nieto scored off a cross from Thomasson in the 29th minute to give the Olympians a 4-0 halftime lead.
“It was very important,” Glass said. “If we didn’t score goals early, then they might have thought ‘We can keep it up the whole time.’ If we’re having a bad game, and they happen to get one lucky one in, that could be it for us. So we have to be smart and get a few in the beginning and keep it up the whole time.”
“We just wanted to put them out early and make sure they didn’t come back,” Nieto said.
East added its final goal in the 53rd minute when Israel Reyna headed in a corner kick from Nieto.
Seymour actually outshot the Olympians 5-3 in the second half. The Owls nearly scored in the game’s final minute when Brantley Adams put one off the left post, then had his follow shot saved by Andy Davidson.
“We just wanted to play with passion,” Seymour coach Matt Dennis said. “We played real hard in the first half, and we just wanted to show everybody what we could do in the second half. I’m proud of the boys, and I’m proud of the way they fought.”
East finished with a 15-11 shot advantage, putting eight shots on goal to two for the Owls. Seymour’s Austin Hatfield recorded three saves, and Davidson posted two saves.
The Olympians, which got past its nemesis, Columbus North, in Wednesday’s semifinals, have accomplished two of their three goals this season — winning the Hoosier Hills Conference and beating the Bull Dogs. East’s third goal is to go far in the state tournament.
“I thought our attack was creative, dynamic and unpredictable, and that is very difficult to defend,” Barber said. “That free-flowing attack, if we continue to play that way, we’ll be difficult for teams coming up in the tournament. I hope we can carry that positive momentum going forward.”