Todd Myers told his players to have fun and hold nothing back.
The end result was Indiana’s highest-scoring game in four seasons as the Indians restored order on their home turf, and thanks to some help, remained in the hunt for the section title.
The Indiana boys’ soccer team coasted to a 7-0 win over East Allegheny in a WPIAL Section 1-AA game Thursday night, the Indians’ highest-scoring game since Sept. 15, 2009. Indiana snapped a two-game losing streak at Andy Kuzneski Field, a skid that wasn’t lost on the players.
“We had a big, long streak at the beginning of the year,” junior Cole Rosenberger said. “We had gotten 13 home wins in a row, and then we lost two home games in a row so it was big for us to win this one. We got two wins in a row now, and we can carry that into Burrell on Tuesday.”
Indiana lost back-to-back home games to Burrell (Sept. 19) and Mount Pleasant (Sept. 26), the first time the Indians lost consecutive home games since the 2010 season. Before the skid, the Indians had a 13-match unbeaten home streak dating to last season, during which they went 12-0-1.
“For me, it’s not as much about the home turf,” Myers, the Indiana coach, said. “I don’t care where we play, it’s just about playing good soccer. That’s what it comes down to.”
Coming off a 4-3 double-overtime road win over Valley on Tuesday, the Indians were admittedly drained, but it didn’t matter against a punchless East Allegheny (1-12, 1-10 section) team.
“We came into this one a little bit tired,” Rosenberger said.
“We had a tough one Tuesday night,” Myers said. “We ended up on the winning side of it, and I kind of challenged these guys to look at Tuesday as one of those games where we actually got better as a team and to display that out there on the field today.
“Also, I think our team had a lot more experience than (East Allegheny). They were young, and I told the guys, I said, ‘Let’s use our experience and let’s use Tuesday’s victory and just continue it.’ And they did that. It was a fun night for the guys.”
Indiana scored early and often to build a comfortable 5-0 halftime cushion, and the Indians put it in cruise control in the second half.
David Zimmerman and Braydon Sharbaugh scored two goals apiece, while Rosenberger, Peter Short and Tyler Milsop added a goal each.
Zimmerman overtook Rosenberger for the team lead in goals. Zimmerman netted his 13th and 14th tallies of the season, and Rosenberger’s goal was his 13th.
Attempting to qualify for the WPIAL playoffs for the third straight year, Indiana maintained its grip on second place in the Section 1-AA standings and inched closer to first-place Burrell.
Burrell lost its second straight game, 4-3 to Mount Pleasant, on Thursday night to drop to 7-2 in section play, only a half-game ahead of Indiana (12-3, 7-3 section). The top three teams in each of the six sections qualify for the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Indiana has two section games remaining, and Burrell has three, and the teams meet on Tuesday in a pivotal match that figures to go a long way in determining the section champion. Indiana wraps up section play next Thursday at home against Derry.
The defending section champions, the Indians haven’t secured a playoff berth yet, but they’re in good position.
They haven’t given up on their hopes of a second straight section title just yet, either.
“It’d be nice to go three years in a row because we haven’t done that before,” Sharbaugh said of the playoffs. “And section champs again would be cool, too. I think the possibilities are pretty great.”