Cougars cruise in record-breaking season finale

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Pictured from an earlier match this season, Greenfield-Central senior Bryce Kinnaman, right, had one of the Cougars five goals in a Senior Night win over New Castle, Thursday.

New PalestineÕs Blake Bobrow defends the goal against Greenfield-CentralÕs Bryce Kinnaman. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022. (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

By Brian Heinemann

For The Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — It was a record-setting Thursday night at Greenfield-Central.

The Cougars didn’t just claim an outright Hoosier Heritage Conference boys soccer championship with a dominant 5-0 win against visiting New Castle. They also broke a pair of school records along the way.

The shutout was the Cougars’ 11th of the season, a school record. Goalkeeper Jordin Jones, a sophomore, also broke a record with his 11th shutout.

It was a perfect end to the season for the Cougars (10-1-3, 7-0 HHC), who get a few days off before sectional play begins.

“The great part is having such a composed, mature defense playing in front of such a fantastic goalkeeper,” Greenfield-Central assistant coach Matt McConnell said. “Sometimes you’ll get one of those, but not the other. We are blessed to have both.”

The Cougars — defensive stalwarts all season long — did what they do best, controlling the tempo with a relentless offense and playing nearly impenetrable defense against the visiting Trojans (2-13, 0-7).

The offense wasted no time putting the game out of reach, scoring twice in the first eight minutes and four times in the first half of a Senior Night win.

The four first-half goals came from two of Greenfield-Central’s 14-player senior class.

Senior Ian Jack opened the scoring just three minutes in, assisted by senior Alex Reed. Reed put one in the back of the net himself less than five minutes later. Jack scored again with under 15 minutes left in the first half, and Reed got his second goal of the night seven minutes later.

Senior Bryce Kinnaman scored at about the halfway point of the second half, making it 5-for-5 for Greenfield-Central’s senior class.

“It’s indescribable what they mean to the program,” McConnell said of the team’s 14 seniors. “As a high school coach, you always have a strong fondness for your senior class. This win is so much about them putting in the work. This is such a wonderful group of kids.”

Greenfield-Central controlled play from the opening whistle, making for a light night in net for Jones.

That’s nothing new. The sophomore keeper is used to seeing his teammates keep the ball on the other side of the field.

Jones and the Greenfield-Central defense gave up a total of five goals this season. They relinquished none in conference play. The Cougars went a perfect 7-0 in the HHC, outscoring their conference rivals by a combined 26-0 and keeping the conference’s traveling Victory Bell trophy from start to finish.

Only three teams scored against the Cougars this year – Decatur Central, Carmel and Fishers – thanks to a stifling defense and impressive play in net.

“The individual school record broken by Jonesy, absolutely amazing, but he couldn’t have done that without the defense and without the attack pressing on their defense,” Kinnaman said. “Our goal differential is out of this world. Going 7-0, we’ve got smiles on our faces, and you can’t really say anything more than that.

“I think we really accomplished that not as individuals, but as one team.”

The conference title is Greenfield-Central’s fifth in the last six years and its third outright championship.

The Cougars will take the momentum of a conference title into next week’s sectional, opening play Monday on the road at host Shelbyville. Greenfield-Central beat the Golden Bears, 4-0, on Sept. 22.

The winner of that game moves to a Wednesday semifinal against New Palestine, but the Cougars won’t get caught looking ahead.

“We get a rhythm going, but one thing that’s special about this team is we don’t overlook anyone,” Kinnaman said. “We prepare everyone like it’s a Fishers, or a Carmel or a Cathedral. We won’t be overlooking anyone in sectionals, and we won’t be looking past the game we play first.”

“There’s no doubt that we’ll face tough competition in the sectional,” McConnell added. “At the end of the day, a clean sheet through conference means nothing when we get to sectionals. It’s going to be a fight all the way through.”