WARSAW – One by one they walked up to greet him, their new hero wearing black.
Friends wanted pictures. Others half-jokingly asked for autographs. Everyone wanted to hug Tyler Born.
By the time his mom finally grabbed him and pulled him close, the tears didn’t stop flowing down her cheeks.
Her son had just made two saves in penalty kicks to send Goshen to the state championship.
After playing Homestead to a 0-0 tie in regulation and two periods of extra time, Goshen defeated the Spartans in PKs 4-3 Saturday night at Warsaw to advance to the state championship game for just the second time in school history.
“Tyler Born, Tyler Born, Tyler Born,” Goshen coach Viratham Mounsithiraj said. “What else can you say?”
Goshen has gone well past its season goals. Born said he thought it’d be great just to win sectionals. Regionals would be spectacular.
He had never even thought his senior year would culminate at the state championship in Indianapolis next Saturday.
“I still can’t believe it,” Born said in between hugs and handshakes. “But I better win that game. I have to win that game.”
After Homestead came out in the first half and earned several chances, Goshen came out in the second half attacking.
Mounsithiraj said he told his team it needed to get a shot on goal. While Goshen was able to continuously pressure the Spartan defense, it could never get a good shot on frame.
“Did I want to go to PKs? No,” Mounsithiraj said. “I said, ‘Guys, we cannot go to PKs.’ But I thought we played well. I hate to say it, but I thought between the two teams, we deserved to go through based on the play. Just the way we were pressuring them in the second half.”
But perhaps no one was more ready for PKs than Born.
While even Mounsithiraj said his heart rate went up a little, knowing a place in the state championship was on the line, Born was ready. Again.
It’s the third time Born and Goshen have advanced through this postseason on PKs.
“I was ready again,” he said. “I was ready for penalty kicks. Been in the moment twice already, and third time, I guess, is a charm.”
He made two saves in the sectional against Elkhart Memorial. He made big saves in the regional championship game.
And he made two more in the semistate championship.
“Tyler made a couple of great saves,” freshman Lucas Bontreger said. “In all of our games, he’s made great saves. He did it again today.”
But Born deflected taking the credit for the win. He said he just did his job, and JT Plavchak, Kyle Ramirez Ingold, Bontreger and Alfredo Vasquez, who all connected on their PKs to give Goshen its four points, did theirs. He wanted to make sure they got their proper credit, too.
“It took the whole team to get us through,” Mounsithiraj said. “Tyler just happened to be the one to stop the shot.”
After a miss on Goshen’s final shot, it all came down to Born and the Homestead player.
If Homestead scored, there’d be more penalties. A stop, and Goshen would travel to Indianapolis.
The man in black dove right, deflected the ball, and became a hero.
“We knew we could do it, but things have to fall into place,” Mounsithiraj said. “Tyler Born fell into place.”