By Nathan Pace
“Keep your heads up, it was still a great season,” was a Lutheran player’s message to his teammates as they posed Friday night for boys’ soccer team photos with the IHSAA Class A state runner-up trophy.
It was not the trophy the Saints wanted in the picture or the ending they had sought to the best season in the program’s short history.
“These boys did their absolute best on the field,” coach Ryan Baglow said after narrowly losing to favored Argos, 2-1 in the title game on the Fishers High School field.
Although disappointed at the outcome, Lutheran had a milestone season with a 15-7 record, sectional, regional and semistate championships and the Saints first appearance in the state championship game.
It was the first appearance for Argos in the state title game too, who practically controlled the whole game.
“They were able to out-chess-match us,” Baglow said. “They were getting guys in spots that we weren’t. They were winning some 50-50 balls. That made all the difference for them to possess and pass out of their formations.”
What kept Lutheran competitive in the game was its defense led by junior keeper Micah Mattes. The defense was on display leading up to the title game as Lutheran shutout Jac-Cen-Del in the semistate (1-0) and Greenwood Christian in the regional final (2-0). On Friday though, Argos had too many looks, scoring twice on nine shots on goal. The Dragons outshot the Saints on the night 21-3. Mattes finished with seven saves.
“Staying on my toes and being ready for anything,” Mattes said of his seven saves.
Lutheran only had one shot on goal on the night but made the most of it with a goal by junior Trey Lawrence. Lawrence was assisted on the goal by junior Fred Hamer, who attacked the left side of the field and crossed the ball to the center of the box to find Lawrence for the score.
The Dragons scored first in the 21 st minute by senior leading scorer Chino Roque who scored the winning goal off a corner kick with 20 minutes left in the game.
“It was just a good header off a corner kick,” Mattes said of the deciding goal.
The Dragons had an 8-1 edge in corner kicks thanks to possessing the ball on Lutheran’s side of the field a majority of the game.
Down 2-1, Lutheran never got a clean look to tie the game. A free kick from midfield with time running out was quickly defended by the Dragons to clinch the game.
The Saints will graduate seniors Nick Anderson, Eli Boyd, Jackson Williams, Jaden Brutcher, Malachi Mackay, Ethan Tran, Noah Brandt and Jace Dugan. Coach Baglow expects eight returnees next season, including Mattes, Lawrence, Hamer and Sean Moore, who scored the only goal in Lutheran’s historic semistate triumph.
“It was a heck of a season by our boys and I hope everyone gets excited to play Lutheran on their schedule next year,” Baglow said.
The Saints have a solid group of returnees to build upon in 2020..
(SOUTHSIDER VOICE PHOTOS BY NATHAN PACE) Lutheran’s most successful boys’ soccer team gathers for its final team photo of the season after they were the Class 1A IHSAA state runner-up team in the state finals Friday at Fishers High School. The Saints competed in the program’s first state championship game after claiming sectional, regional and semistate championships.