After having its season opener twice delayed twice due to the weather, the top-ranked Zionsville boys soccer team kicked off their season Thursday evening against McCutcheon.
The Eagles displayed the fast-paced, unselfish attack that they expect to have all season, scoring easily dispatching the Mavericks 6-0.
“We have had kind of a long lay-off, having the Carmel game delayed twice and the two weeks of practice, so it’s been a while since we played,” Zionsville head coach Rob Jordan said. “I give McCutcheon a lot of credit for the way they played, they had six guys back and it kind of confused us for a while and we weren’t that patient. But by the end of the first half we started to solve it, got more ball movement and were finding the gaps.”
Chris Freeman got the Eagles on the board from the penalty spot in the first half, and while they kept the pressure up throughout the first half, couldn’t find the back of the net until the final minutes of the half, after the Maverick keeper spilled the ball to Connor Maltby, who passed it off to Jackson Iler for the second goal.
Jordan said one of the best parts of the first half was how his team didn’t get frustrated and continued to work the ball looking for the second goal.
“We have an older team and they have showed quite a bit of maturity,” Jordan said. “Just the way we knocked the ball around, they were pretty patient and they knew the second goal was coming. It was just matter of doing what we were capable of.”
The Eagles poured it on in the second half.
Just five minutes into the second half, senior Ben Weidner out-raced a McCutcheon defender to a through ball.
Rather than taking the keeper 1-v-1, Weidner passed it off to Freeman, who scored into a wide open net.
“That came from the back, to the middle to the outside,” Jordan said of the build-up. “It was bang, bang, bang and we really liked how everyone moved. Ben made at least a 50-yard sprint to start that off, then Freeman made an even deeper sprint to get in position to get that ball. That’s what we really liked, not only were we moving the ball with pace and getting people in, but we had guys running off the ball and it was all about effort.”
Ben Dunning scored with a flicked on header to make it 4-0, before Iler added his second on a tap in after the keeper bobbled a rebound.
Alex Carr added the sixth on a shot to far top corner from a tight angle.
The Eagles had other chances to add on even more with the reserves in late in the game, but were denied by the post and a couple of nice saves.
“We have a good 10-11 guys that are starting, and the guys right behind them are really good too and are valuable,” Jordan said. “It was nice to see the intensity stay high. We got a couple goals with that group in and a couple other really good scoring chances.”
It wasn’t just the Zionsville offense that was clicking.
The new-look defense also played solid throughout, barely allowing any serious threat to keepers Gavin Raff and Nick Bohm.
“It was big for them,” Jordan said. “We have a lot of confidence in what they can do this year, but it is good to get that first game under their belts and get the opportunity to play. It may take a little bit to fully gel, but it was a good first game and I am happy with what they did.”
The Eagles are back in action Tuesday at home in the HCC opener against Fishers.
“We have always had this early conference game and we are used to it,” Jordan said. “Fishers is always a very good team. We had some success against them last year, where we overwhelmed them at first, but they gave us a really good game after that. We expect them to bring everything they got.”