ZIONSVILLE - The Zionsville boys soccer team knows how it feels to fall in the State Championship game.
On Saturday night, they are hoping to learn what it feels like to win one. The Eagles (20-0) will take on Lake Central (12-5-3) at 6:30 p.m. at Fishers High School looking for the program's second-ever state title in boys soccer.
"Everyone wants to win that last game," Zionsville head coach Rob Jordan said. "It would be so great for this group of guys. They have had a lot of success and we are hoping to send them out on top."
The Eagles only other state championship came 10 years ago when the Eagles topped Homestead 3-1 in the final.
That was back in the one-class system, where four teams made the State Finals. Zionsville topped Lake Central 1-0 in the semifinals earlier that day.
There were some other similarities with the groups. Two years before their title, the Eagles saw a successful season fall short in the semi-state final, then lost to the state championship game the next year in penalty kicks before winning it all.
This installment of Eagles went 14-0-3 in the regular season two years ago, but lost in the loaded Carmel Sectional.
Last year they lost a heart breaker in OT in the state title game, and now will look to match the success of the 2009 team in the third run of the run.
Jordan was the head coach at Pike in 2009, and had some post-season encounters with that Zionsville squad. He said there are some similarities between the two groups.
"They were a veteran group too with a lot of talent," Jordan said. "They really worked hard and played for each other. They were really hard to beat, and had a lot of guys who could make plays, just like we do."
Jordan said preparations for Saturday's game have been going well.
They have spent a couple of days indoors due to the weather, but he said at this point of the year, it is more about maintaining health and going over game plans.
"All year we have been taking it one game at a time," Jordan said. "So after winning (last) Saturday, they enjoyed the win over the weekend, but come 4 p.m. Monday, it was back to business. More than anything, we have been focused on staying healthy. We have played 20 times already this year, so we know what we want to do and have watched the film and gone over what they want to do."
Lake Central comes into the game having won seven of their last eight games.
Jack Bailey leads the team with nine goals, with Rob MacNeill and Jakob Noldin having seven each.
"They are peaking at the right time," Jordan said. "You don't make it to the State Finals without being a really good team. They play with a lot of energy and belief, and that really drives them. It is going to be a tough game for us."
The Eagles come into the game having scored 61 goals and allowed just 12 on the year.
Chris Freeman leads the team with 12 goals and 10 assists, with Ben Weidner having nine goals and seven assists and Alex Carr having nine goals and five assists.
Josh Kuller has seven goals and seven assists.
Win or lose, it will be the final game at Zionsville for their nine seniors, who have gone 51-3-6 in their three varsity seasons.
"Just watching them play coming up, you knew they could be a special group," Jordan said. "They went undefeated as freshmen on the JV and we knew that we had a talented class above them and below them (this year's junior class) and they all really complimented each other. We knew they were talented players and good kids, and that it could be something really special."
Jordan said it isn't just their playing abilities that makes the team special.
"It is the way they represent themselves, their families, the school and the community," Jordan said. "We have gotten great support all year, and are going to leave it all on the field on Saturday."