By Craig Huchel/Sports Correspondent
— Regulation and two overtime periods were not enough to decide the boys’ soccer sectional championship Saturday, Oct. 6.
In the end, Carmel beat Zionsville 2-2, 5-3 on penalty kicks, hitting all five kicks.
Zionsville senior Matthew Jordan said he was proud of how the team fought.
“We played really hard,” Jordan said. “I can’t say I have any regrets about this game. Its just ... PK’s is a tough way to lose.”
Zionsville Coach Rob Jordan agreed and said the team was inches away from a win.
“I’m very happy about how we played,” Jordan said. “I’m very proud of how we played. We played well enough that we should have won this game. A missed call in the first half cost us a goal. That makes the whole game when you’re only talking about two goals on each team being scored. But, they can’t see everything.”
From the onset of the game, Zionsville held control of the ball and put a lot of pressure on the Greyhounds.
Rob Jordan said that was a big focus for the team.
“We’ve played them before,” Jordan said. “We played them earlier in the year to a 1-1 tie. We knew what they had and they knew what we had. Our big thing was trying to keep possession and keep the ball moving and get the ball down the flanks. We had a lot of opportunities. We just didn’t finish up.”
After a lot of pressure, Zionsville’s Patrick Murphy scored on a centering pass from Jordan with 14:35 remaining in the first half to go up 1-0.
After this initial goal, the Greyhounds came back on the attack less than two minutes later to score their own goal when Riley Pelton put the ball in the back of the net after an apparent foul on the keeper Zach Norman with 12:52 remaining in the half.
The half ended in a 1-1 tie.
At the beginning of the second half, the Greyhounds continued their attack on the Eagles and scored first on an unassisted goal by Pelton again with 28:15 remaining in regulation to make the score 2-1.
But, the Eagles came back on the attack and regained a great deal of possession and scored just six minutes later on a Matthew Jordan blast into the upper left hand corner of the goal on a bouncing ball with 22:33 left in regulation.
In the final 20 minutes of regulation, both teams had their chances. But, regulation ended in a 2-2 tie.
In overtime, Zionsville outshot Carmel 4-1 in the two seven-minute periods, but were unable to score.
Rob Jordan said he thought the Eagles had the advantage.
“We felt we had the better legs,” Jordan said. “Because every time we transitioned, their team wasn’t coming back. So, we had a lot of opportunity going forward. We unfortunately didn’t make them pay for it.”
In penalty kicks, Carmel and Zionsville both made their first two penalty kicks before junior Matthew Perry missed over the top of the cross bar.
Carmel ended it on yet another score by Pelton as he put it in the corner to win penalty kicks 5-3.
Rob Jordan said he could not have been prouder of this team.
“This is a great group of kids,” Jordan said. “I know that every coach always says that, but I’ve done this for 26 years and this has been one of the best groups of kids I’ve ever been involved with.”