JIM HUNSLEY: Area soccer season has highs and lows

2012-10-31T18:30:00Z JIM HUNSLEY: Area soccer season has highs and lowsJim Hunsley Times Columnist nwitimes.com
October 31, 2012 6:30 pm  • 

The 2012 area prep soccer season is over, and I believe its premature conclusion can be viewed as a disappointing ending.

For just the third time since 1997, the state finals didn't include a local boys or girls representative.

Maybe I'm a little spoiled? Lake Central's boys won the 2010 title, then Duneland Athletic Conference foe Crown Point took last year's Class 2A boys crown.

In my last column, I wrote about how I had confidence Valparaiso's boys would make the 2A state championship. The state No. 7 Vikings were upset by unranked Hamilton Southeastern in the semistate semis.

Valparaiso coach Danny Jeftich felt confident Before the semistate, even though state No. 2 and host Warsaw was in the field.

"I like our chances down there," he said. "It's about having a good defense and good keeper."

A team which recorded 11 shutouts up to the semistate did allow two goals to the Royals. I was shocked to hear the news of the semifinal loss.

Crown Point's girls were undermanned in semistate championship loss to South Bend St. Joseph's. I still don't know for sure if a healthy Bulldogs team upends the Indians, but I'm certain the final wouldn't have been 4-0.

Take a look at the state rankings; seven boys teams and four girls team were listed at one point in the poll.

The Indiana Soccer Coaches Association All-District selections show some local dominance. On the boys side, 15 first-teamers in District I were from area schools — the list totals 18. Add five second-teamers and that's 24 of 32 spots with local representation.

The numbers aren't as large on the girls size, and that's mostly due to the Class 2A girls runner-up Indians. Area teams took 11 first-team spots, then added six second-team spots. In 2010 and '11, area girls soccer players took 18 spots.

When you break it down by teams, four schools flexed some muscle. DAC foes Crown Point and Valparaiso each had seven players on the lists, while Munster had six. Chesterton totaled four, including three on the boys side.

Those are impressive numbers, and that made me think one local school would break through to the finals. It didn't happen.

To be clear, I'm not discounting there were successes this season. Wheeler's girls won its first sectional title. Clark's boys team had a spectacular season, taking Munster to the brink in the sectional championship.

I just expected more — and I think some teams would agree with me.

Twelve all-district players were underclassmen, so maybe things will be different next season?

 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.hunsley@nwi.com.

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