By RICHIE HALL
Reporter Sports Editor
It wasn’t easy, but the Hamilton Southeastern boys soccer team won its third straight sectional championship on Saturday.
The No. 2-ranked Royals got past Muncie Central 2-0 to win the Class 3A Sectional 8 trophy at Noblesville’s White River Elementary fields. On paper, highly-ranked Southeastern was expected to dominate, but the Bearcats’ defense made the Royals work for it.
“We knew coming in with the wind, it’d be tough and we had a feeling they would play a little more defensive, said HSE coach Chris White. “They have some big kids that are athletic. Shea (Hill), their coach, does a real nice job getting them organized, and they stayed organized in back.”
Southeastern got on the board early, with Jimmy Maulucci scoring in the first half. The Royals kept attacking in the second half, but Muncie Central goalkeeper Noah Scott turned into a brick wall, making several big saves and even blocking a penalty kick late in the second half.
Kevin Leffers finally got HSE its second goal, touching it in with 2:26 left in the game. That finally assured the Royals a sectional trophy, and a date next Saturday at the Kokomo regional. HSE will play Fort Wayne Northrop in the second semi-final, which starts at noon. Northrop beat Fort Wayne Carroll 1-0 to win the East Noble sectional.
“It feels great,” said defender Ethan Pulliam, one of Southeastern’s 11 seniors. “This is our third sectional championship in a row. It feels great every single time to win a championship, get that trophy and hold it up.”
The Royals are now 16-1-2 for the season.
By RICHIE HALL