One year ago, the Chesterton boys soccer team thought they let a berth to the
State Finals slip away. No problem this year.
The Trojans earned the school’s first-ever trip to the IHSAA Boys Soccer
State Finals with a 2-1 overtime victory over Elkhart Central Saturday night
“It’s an amazing feeling and I don’t really know how to explain it,”
Chesterton coach Jamie Sensibaugh said. “There were a lot of the people in
the community that have supported the program and former player there that
made it so rewarding.
“To me, this is more of a community accomplishment than a boys soccer program
thing. That’s the best part of it.”
Neither team scored in the first half as Elkhart Central controlled the ball
against a more passive Chesterton (17-4-1) defense.
“Elkhart Central possessed the ball most of the first half,” Sensibaugh said.
“We tried not to be too aggressive in the middle of the field and let them
get behind us. That’s the best midfield and forwards we played all year.
“We had to do that even though that wasn’t our style all year. We didn’t
totally dig in, but we were more conservative.”
Elkhart Central scored the game’s first goal in controversial fashion with
just over 29:00 to play in regulation. Anthony Lucchese’s direct kick from 30
yards out crawled into the goal inside the far post past Alex Mannen.
The linesman on the far side of the field held up an offside flag, but was
overruled by the head official and the Blazers had a 1-0 lead.
“Once they scored we went back to playing Chesterton soccer,” Sensibaugh
said. “And I think they got a little more defensive and tried to sit on that
goal. We got a lot more good looks and they kept kicking the ball out of
bounds in our offensive third.”
And that’s a problem against the Trojans with the likse of Jordan Lewis and
Troy Houck able to throw the ball on net.
“They kept giving us long throw-in’s and we’re going to make one of those,”
The game-tying goal came with just under 12:00 to play when Houck’s long
throw-in found the head of Lewis and then the foot of Adam Stueber.
“Jordan is the most gifted person in the air with his head I’ve seen,”
Sensibaugh said. “Adam was right where he was supposed to be. We’ve been in
the right spot a lot the last two or three weeks.”
The Trojans dropped a 3-1 decision last year to the Blazers and weren’t about
to let it happen again.
“I’ve thought we had the talent to make a run in the postseason tournament
and you just need some good fortune,” Sensibaugh said. “We had a chance to
get to the Semistate last year and those kids coming back thought we could do
The decisive goal came when Cole Galloway bent a ball past EC goalkeeper
Justin Holmes off a long throw-in from Lewis.
“Cole Galloway’s goal,” Sensibaugh said while shaking his head. “That shot
was the only way we were going to beat that keeper. He was off his line and
Cole put it into the upper 90.
“We’ve been a second half team all year. We knew there would always be plenty
of time for us if the clock was still moving.”
In the semifinal, the Trojans bested DAC-foe Lake Central 1-0, while Elkhart
Central beat Crawfordsville 2-0.
It was Galloway again who scored when he put a loose ball in front of the
Lake Central goal into the back of the net with just under 12:00 to go.
“We knew playing against a DAC foe that both teams knew everything about the
other,” Sensibaugh said. “We knew that it would be a tightly contested game.
We knew we’d get some opportunities and we did. Their keeper made some great
saves, but Cole put one in.”
Chesterton 2, Elkhart Central 1
Chesterton – Adam Stueber 1 goal; Cole Galloway 1 goal; Jordan Lewis 2
assists; Alex Mannen 7 saves.
Elkhart Central – Anthony Lucchese 1 goal; Justin Holmes 4 saves.
Chesterton 1, Lake Central 0
Chesterton – Cole Galloway 1 gaol; Alex Mannen 7 saves.
Lake Central – Tony Halterman 7 saves.