Checkmate / No. 3 Knights end No. 20 Olympians’ season in regional semifinal

Columbus East looked to build momentum in the second half when it evened up the match, but then Castle seized control.

The Class 3A No. 3 Knights put up two additional goals in the second half to end the 3A No. 20 Olympians season with a 3-1 boys soccer loss Thursday night at the BCSC Soccer Complex.

“It’s definitely disappointing, especially. I don’t think we played really well,” East coach Josh Gonsior said. “We didn’t bring our best game of the season, but when you play pretty solid defensively and only give up three chances, you don’t expect them all to go in the net. I thought the defense did a really good job keeping them in front of them, and I think they played really hard. We were unfortunate on some bounces, and they were able to capitalize on the only chances they had. That’s the difference in the game.”

Regardless of the decision Thursday night, the Olympians (13-4-1) accomplished a lot this season. They won their third straight sectional title and also won the outright Hoosier Hills Conference championship.

“It’s definitely disappointing to end the season, but you’ve got to be proud of this team and the resilience over the season and building what we were capable of,” Gonsior said. “We saw some really good soccer throughout the season and can’t complain about that.”

In the 22nd minute, a miscue from East led to Jackson Mitchell receiving the ball. He then forwarded the pass to Daniel Tkachuk, who took a couple touches from the left side and his shot just tucked into the far post and out of reach of goalkeeper Pete Coriden for a 1-0 lead that held until the break.

In the second half, Chris Quisenberry leveled the match at 1-1 in the 50th minute when he took a few dribbles after receiving a pass from Kevin Galindo Sanchez while battling his defender. His shot from just inside the box hit the back of the net.

Fifteen minutes later, a corner kick was awarded to the Knights (19-1). Tkachuk took the corner and the ball took a couple deflections, but Mitchell finished the play for the go ahead goal. Xavier Scott added the insurance goal off a Mitchell assist in the 70th minute.

“We didn’t have a lot of chances, but obviously, Chris finished that really nice ball from Kevin. It’s kind of the theme this season — Kevin to Chris and a goal. I wish we had more chances there, but it wasn’t in our cards tonight.”

Now, Gonsior will have nearly a brand new team of starters on the pitch next season when the Olympians will graduate 11 seniors, most of whom were starters.

“These group of seniors was very impactful on the program as a whole. It’s one of the winningest groups we’ve had come through East. Three of of four sectionals for this group is unheard of at Columbus East. It’s going to be hard to move on from them,” Gonsior said.

“Hopefully, some of the experience that we’ve gotten from some of these of guys is going to be able to help build going forward…” he added “People are going to have to jump in those roles and fill them. Hopefully, we’re using the offseason well and giving those kids some opportunities to get better in their club season. Hopefully, they get some of that game experience, and they’re ready to roll coming in the fall.”