FLOYDS KNOBS — Providence shut out Oldenburg Academy 2-0 and Forest Park 1-0 in overtime at Saturday’s Class A Floyd Central Semistate to earn its first state final berth.
A year after a crushing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Covenant Christian in the semistate championship, the young 15-6-1 Pioneers came back to finished the job on Saturday.
“We felt the heartbreak last year,” Providence senior Brent Hesse said. “That gave us more motivation to get back and get to the state finals.”
“It’s every freshman’s dream your senior year to get to go to the state finals with a chance to win,” Providence senior Evan Hollkamp said. “It’s unreal right now.”
Providence coach Brandon Rogers said he isn’t sure if this year’s team could have come through two hard-fought games without last year’s squad getting to the semistate.
“Last year’s team paved the way for us,” Rogers said. “The fact of the matter is we had been here. We weren’t going to settle for just making it here. Our goal all year long was the state finals and a state championship. It’s not over yet. I can’t stress that enough.”
The Pioneers will face top-ranked Guerin Catholic (17-2-3) at Carroll Stadium on the campus of IUPUI in Indianapolis at 1 p.m. for the state championship next Saturday. Guerin, which is located in Carmel, beat No. 2 Fort Wayne Luers 2-1 in overtime to reach state.
“It’s going to be a really tough game,” senior goalkeeper Jeff Wiles said. “[Guerin] is going to give it their all and that’s what we need to do, too.”
“We’re in the state finals now and anything can happen,” Hesse added.
After a 9-6-1 regular season, the Pioneers have outscored seven postseason opponents by a combined 20-0.
“I would not have thought we could have gotten to this point with all shutouts,” Rogers said. “It speaks to our upperclassmen stepping up.”