By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
There are times when history really does repeat itself.
The Bethany Christian High School boys soccer team repeated as the Class 1A regional champion with a 5-2 win over the Michigan City Marquette Blazers Saturday night at Newton Park.
Senior Andrew Snyder netted three goals and classmate Josh Stoltzfus two to lead the Bruins.
“Five goals from only two guys is a little unusual for us,” first-year Bethany coach Mark Yoder said. “We don’t have one player that has scored a lot of goals. We have a number of players that are around the 10-goal mark.”
Yoder feels the experience the team gained last season when the Bruins advanced to the Final Four in the first year for class soccer helped this time around.
“We graduated some good players from last year’s team, but we still have a lot of seniors with a lot of experience,” the coach said. “A number of them have been through this before.”
Bethany (17-5) will square off with Fort Wayne Canterbury (13-6-1) in next Saturday’s first semifinal at 10 a.m. The second contest matches winners from the Caston and Tipton regionals. Winners return at 7 p.m. for a berth in the state championship on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Kuntz Stadium in Indianapolis.
The semistate is one area where the Bruins hope history doesn’t repeat itself, as it was Canterbury that ended Bethany’s season a year ago at Newton Park.
“As a team we have not talked about facing Canterbury again, but I’m sure it has been in the back of the kids’ minds,” Yoder said.
Among the players the Bruins lost to graduation was Femi Hollinger-Janzen, who is now playing at Indiana University.
“A lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance to get back here,” Stoltzfus said. “They thought Femi was our whole team last season. It feels good to show them we have more than just one good player.”
Canterbury’s regional championship was earlier in the day so the Bruins knew if they won Canterbury would be their next opponent.
“We are looking forward to playing Canterbury again,” Stoltzfus said.
Getting back to the semistate was important to the Bruins.
“Coach had the seniors over to his house one night for dinner,” Morris said. “He asked us where this team wanted to go and we all told him we wanted to be right back here.”
Defense has been a key for the Bruins. Saturday night was the fifth game in the state tournament and the two goals the Blazers scored were the first allowed by the Bruins in sectional or regional play.
“Marquette has a great team with good speed,” Bethany senior defender Caleb Morris said. “We had a couple of breakdowns tonight. Things that we need to cleanup before next week.
“We have a very good defense. Our sweeper (senior) Isaac Schertz does a good job of keeping us organized back there. He does a good job of communicating with us and getting us in the right positions. We have been playing the same system since we were freshmen so we know where we should be.”
Bethany jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead as Sndyer scored his first goal at 34:49 of the opening half with an assist from Stoltzfus. That was all the scoring in the first half.
At 36:57 of the second half, Stoltzfus gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead with an unassisted goal. While dribbling the ball into the box he lost control but managed to regain it and get the shot by the Blazer keeper.
Marquette then cut the lead in half as junior Jack Disser scored on a free kick and you could began to sense a change in momentum as Marquette became more aggressive on the offensive end. Snyder helped the Bruins regain the momentum as the scored at 31:40.
“Answering the goal Marquette scored was huge for us,” Yoder said. “Tournament soccer is a lot of times emotional. It is good to get the momentum back on our side with that goal.”
Bethany added a goal at 28:40 on a penalty kick by Snyder and another at 19:36 by Stoltzfus. Blazer senior Patrick Cannon netted his team’s second goal with 15:52 remaining.
“Overall I was happy with our play on defense,” Yoder said. “You have to give Marquette credit. They have some good athletes and put the pressure on us. The Blazers are dangerous when they possess the ball. Fortunately for us we possessed the ball quite a bit.”
Bethany had a 12-4 lead in shots on goal and an 8-0 advantage in corner kicks. Sophomore Trent Yoder made three keeper saves for the Bruins and sophomore Patrick Roder seven for the Blazers.
“Trent made some really nice saves for us,’ Yoder said.
Snyder now has 13 goals on the season and Stoltzfus 12.
“Three goals in a game is unusual for Snyder,” Yoder said. “Normally his role for u