MUNSTER | Ninety-four minutes of regulation soccer had passed, and Munster faced two outcomes on Saturday: victory or season-ending defeat. The high school soccer career of senior goalkeeper Evan Kattan was balanced squarely on his shoulders.
With that in mind, Kattan came through in the biggest moment in his 13 years of playing soccer when he saved three potential goals in the penalty kick session of Saturday's sectional championship win over Clark. The Mustangs would hang on, winning their 11th straight sectional championship with a 4-1 shootout victory over the Pioneers.
"That was probably one of the best moments of my life," Kattan said. "In the Clark section, not a seat left. In our section, not a seat left. Once Alex Sikora hit that last (penalty kick), everyone charged the field. That was probably the best feeling I've ever felt."
That victory gave Kattan an incredible boost of confidence, especially since the Mustangs had just ended a tough stretch of three consecutive losses to Brownsburg, Valparaiso and Andrean before the postseason began.
"He's feeling pretty good right now," Munster assistant coach TJ DeGiulio said. "He got to the right side. When you're stopping those and their shooters are supposed to make it, it takes the wind out of them."
Since his freshman year, Kattan has gained a great deal on confidence in his own abilities. Though he doesn't play club soccer, he keeps his game sharp simply by playing indoor soccer during the offseason.
Kattan said he gives a lot of credit to his development as a goalkeeper to former Mustang goalie Jess Clark, who now plays at IUPUI.
"(Kattan's) explosive to the ball," DeGiulio said. "He's just outstanding. His hands are really good. He has good speed, side to side."
Losing to Valparaiso 2-0 just a few games ago was a bit of a wake up call. However, that outcome just adds some fuel to the fire for Kattan and the Mustangs, who will take on the Vikings today at the Merrillville Regional.
"After seeing them the first, we know more of what to expect," Kattan said. "We're going to try to work on what we can do to stop, specifically, what they do and then go from there."