Thomas Konemaru tries to control the ball in an 11-1 win against Charleston at Charleston.
By BLAKE FAITH
The Mt. Zion boys soccer team finished its season with a 1-0 loss against Jacksonville in the IHSA 2A regional semifinal at Meridian High School.
The match was a defensive battle. The game was tied 0-0 at halftime. The second half, the Braves’ offensive opportunities were limited. Kam Clark and Hayden Shumaker pressed Briar Miller. Miller was able to make saves throughout the match for Jacksonville.
Joshua Garrett played strong for the Braves. He along with the defensive core of Matthew Platzbecker, Brayen Traxler and Carter Bahls’ contained the Crimsons’ attack. Garrett made save after save while navigating the defense.
With less than five minutes left, the Crimsons struck on a controversial play. The Crimsons’ offense created contact in Garrett that allowed them to score.
The Braves tried to counter on the offense, but were stopped.
“It was a good game,” Head coach Scott Crawford said. “I think we possessed the ball at times very well. In the second half, I think we controlled the game a little bit and it was a midfield battle there for a while. I just think we came up a little short, we had opportunities late to score a couple goals and didn’t come in the end.”
The Braves end their season with a 17-6-2 record and a 9-1-2 record in Apollo Conference play. The Braves finished second in their conference and saw two single season records broken. One by Clark for goals in a season and the other by Hayden Shumaker for single season assists.
“I think we started out trying to figure out how to score goals,” Coach Crawford said. “And I think through the middle of the season, we figured out how to possess the ball, we figured out how to score goals, we figured out how to defend. I think overall the boys took leaps and bounds through this season. They just had a good season. They did well.”
Clark, Zach Harvey and Hayden Shumaker made the All-Apollo conference first team and Garrett made the second team. Clark and Shumaker also made All-Sectional first team while Harvey and Garrett made honorable mention.
The Braves graduate Clark, Luke Shumaker, Traxler, Platzbecker, Harvey, Garrett Odom, Evan Griffith, and Jadan O’Brien.
“These seniors were really special to me. Some of them are some of the better players in our program. They worked their butts off to get to where they were at. They spent time in the offseason playing soccer you know with clubs and everything. I just have a lot of respect for them because they worked hard. And they did a nice job.”
The Braves will return Garrett, Bahls, Greg Frazier, Hayden Shumaker, Thomas Konemaru, Jacob Harmison, Jay Oliveria, Oliver Coleman and Roman Munoz at the varsity level.