Three-peat / East boys soccer wins third straight sectional title

NEW ALBANY — Columbus East decided the boys soccer sectional title early in the second half in just the blink of an eye.

The Class 3A No. 20 Olympians scored two goals just over a minute apart to claim their third straight sectional title with a 2-0 victory over Columbus North in the New Albany Sectional final. The title is also East’s fourth sectional title in the past five years.

“Today just shows the quality of both programs and our club, Columbus Express, as well,” East coach Josh Gonsior said. “Columbus Express has done a lot to build up soccer in Columbus. I think watching this game was a testament to that. Both programs working really hard to try to develop a love for the game, and that was definitely on display today.

“It feels great to get that third one in a row. Being able to continue that legacy that (former East) coach (Brad) Barber built with Columbus East,” Gonsior added. “It definitely does not hurt the program at all. It boosts the confidence of the kids and being able to get a lot kids out here on the bench as part of the program and experience this. I think that’ll go a long way in the development of the future, as well.”

The Olympians will host 3A No. 3 Castle, which won 4-3 over Evansville Memorial in the regional semifinals on Thursday with the time still to be determined.

“It feels really good, obviously, to continue the tradition of winning that we built here at East and being good sports about it and making sure we’re doing the right things on and off the field,” East senior Chris Quisenberry said.

“It feels great that we could get this result with all of our teammates and all of the support we received. We really couldn’t be any happier. I couldn’t be any happier in my team and the grit and spirit that they brought to this game.”

In the regular-season matchup against the Bull Dogs (12-6) on Aug. 28, East was on the losing end 2-1. Since the defeat, the Olympians (13-3-1) are 11-1 with the loss coming to Fishers, the top-ranked team in 3A.

“It feels good to be sectional champion, especially as a senior, it’s the cherry on top being able to have this long of a run to end my career,” East senior Weston Romine said. “We wanted to avenge that loss from earlier in the season, and I’m just happy that we came out and played the way we did and got the result in the end.”

The first goal by the Olympians came off of a corner, when Chris Quisenberry delivered a perfect ball to Branson Young, whose header went to Cam Trueblood, and Trueblood put it in for the 1-0 lead. Over a minute later, Kevin Galindo Sanchez added the insurance goal for East to eventually put the game away.

“I know that Chris is always going to put a good ball in, so I just got to time my run right,” Young said. “I was one step ahead so I knew I had to get that much higher to bring it back down. Once I did, I saw Cam on the end of it, and I knew it was going to go in.”

The defense also held firm against North. After surrendering two goals in the regular-season matchup, the Olympians posted a clean sheet Saturday.

East didn’t allow a goal in the sectional and have allowed only six goals since the loss to the Bull Dogs.

“It feels great, but I’ve got to give credit to all my boys in the back with me,” East senior Korbin Hatcher said. “I’ve got to thank them for it. They’re the best.”

Both teams had chances in the first half, but the defense were able to withstand the pressure to keep the match scoreless at the break. After East got the two goals, the defense kept the Bull Dogs at bay over the final 35 minutes of the match.

“They lost to a very good Columbus East team. We had beaten a good Columbus East team, but we didn’t do it when it mattered. That’s OK. They’re win is our loss.” North coach Andy Glover said. “As far as the team goes, massive growth throughout the season. We had some great senior leadership, but that’s where the bulk of our roster comes from. We’re young and growing. As long as a loss today serves its purpose for the season next year, we won’t be OK with that, but it is something to build on and keep our team moving forward next year.”

With a squad featuring 11 seniors, many of whom are the last core pieces to the historic run to the Class 3A Final Four two years ago, East made sure the tide was in favor of the Olympians Saturday.

“That was the first step in the development of those guys of being able to be a part of that team that went to semistate. They have really set the tone over the last couple years after Eric (Stiles) and Jorge (Nieto’s) group graduated,” Gonsior said. “They set the tone, and they understood the assignment and really put in the work…We had a really good group of leaders amongst them who really carried the program, and it’s been great to have them.”