By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
It’s hard enough to win the NLC high school boys soccer championship.
It’s even harder to do it while going undefeated and untied.
Yet that is what the Goshen Redskins did on Thursday with a 4-0 win over the Elkhart Memorial Crimson Chargers at the Goshen Soccer Complex.
“This is a tough league,” Goshen coach Viratham Mounsithiraj said. “Winning with no losses and no ties is even rarer. Warsaw or Northridge did it a few years ago and I believe that is the only other time it has happened.
“I didn’t see this at the beginning of the season. We felt coming in that Concord, Warsaw and Northridge would be the teams to beat.”
The veteran coach pointed to the senior class as the difference makers.
“I’m proud of the kids,” the coach said. “They bought into our program. Three of the seniors — Emmanuel Ortiz, Geovanny Martinez and Jonathan Martinez — took charge in that area.”
The outright NLC championship is the program’s first since 2000.
“This was Senior Night and we were pimped for that,” Martinez said. “We were also pumped about going undefeated in the conference. With all the good teams in the league that is pretty hard to do.”
“There are a lot of good teams in the NLC and going undefeated is something,” junior Seth Kurtz said. “This also gives us a lot of confidence heading into sectional.”
Thursday was also the final home game for Goshen seniors Jonathan Medina, Pablo Rangel and John Schrock-Shenk.
“It was satisfying for me from a coaching standpoint to get all the kids into the game” Mounsithiraj said.
Goshen (14-1, 7-0 NLC) meets Northridge Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Class 2A Sectional at Concord.
“We are in a tough sectional,” Mounsithiraj said. “Four out of the five teams were ranked at some point of the season.”
The only score in the first half was by Redskin junior Isaac Huerta at the 13:46 mark on a pass from junior Jesus Dominguez.
“Memorial really packed their defense in,” Mounsithiraj said. “We told them at halftime to let them pack in it, We would pass the ball behind the defense and let our speed and skill take over.”
Getting the first goal is important for the Redskins.
“When we get the first goal we can knock the ball around and wear the other team out,” the coach said.
The second half was different as Ortiz netted the team’s second goal at 37:02 and Dominguez the third at 29:13 with an assist from Ortiz.
“Memorial looked pretty tired in the second half,” Martinez said.
Martinez added the final goal at 15:27.
Goshen had an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal and a 5-2 lead in corner kicks. Junior goalie Tyler Born made one keeper save for the winners and senior William Macedo five for the Chargers.
“The guys on defense have been playing together for a long time,” Kurtz said. “Our whole defense played well.”