SOUTH BEND — Within the context of the boys soccer match, it didn’t mean a tremendous amount.
On the surface, Tre Bisher’s penalty kick with 73 seconds left in Thursday’s Class 3A South Bend Adams Sectional semifinal simply served to prevent Michigan City from being shut out by Plymouth in a 6-1 loss at TCU School Field.
To the Wolves' senior, who didn’t even know it was a PK when the whistle was blown, it was special.
“It was a hell of a moment,” Bisher said. “The last sectional, my mom came and watched me, and it was the last time she saw me play.”
Krystyna Hurt died unexpectedly Dec. 12, 2018, and when Bisher delivered the PK just under the cross bar, his thoughts went immediately to her.
“She never saw me score a varsity goal,” he said. “It meant a lot to me. I could always hear her screaming my name up in the crowd. I just gave it my all.”
With all of his other seniors already out of the match at that point, Wolves coach David Harris kept Bisher in the match for that very reason. There was no decision to make as to who would take the penalty kick when the foul was called.
“I wanted him to play it out, no matter who was on the field,” Harris said.
Bisher played basketball as a freshman, first coming out for soccer as a sophomore. He had played the sport only briefly in middle school.
“He could barely kick the ball 10 yards,” Harris said, smiling.
But the Wolves coach also recognized Bisher was ‘super athletic’ and had a strong work ethic to go along with it.
“I could see the potential,” Harris said. “He put in the work, on and off the field.”
Now Bisher hopes to continue playing in college.
It was a happy footnote for the Wolves (6-10-2) over the course of 80 minutes that otherwise belonged to the Rockies (7-9-2).
“They hit the ball well,” Harris said. “Props to them. They deserved it. They were super strong in the midfield, really confident.”
Soccer coaches stress that a two-goal lead is the trickiest advantage to have. Any let-up and the trailing team can climb right back into the match. Plymouth found itself in that position at the intermission, up 2-0, but didn’t take its foot off the gas pedal.
Adrian Cardona’s 35-yard bomb 16 seconds into the second half made it 3-0 and City’s spirits began to fade.
“I knew whomever scored the next goal, that would be a huge factor in the game,” Harris said. “We have some players up front who have the speed to get behind them, so we were trying to force the issue. If we could’ve snatched one there early, we were back in the game.”
Manny Baca finished a perfect Miguel Contreras through ball at 47:08 to continue the onslaught. Salvin Pagoada added another score with another long-range blast with 9:40 left to make it 5-0. Cardona started the scoring in the fifth minute, converting out of a goal box scramble, and Baca’s left-footed 20-yarder over Gabe Galvan extended the margin at 26:48.
In the second semifinal, Adams scored twice in the first 8:11 of the second half and went on to down La Porte 3-1.
Aaron Feikes picked the ball off Adams keeper's foot on a pass back to put the Slicers in front at 14:38, a lead that stood at half.
The pace was brisk from the start with LP fill-in goalie Ronaldo Cuarenta making a leg save to prevent an Eagles goal just 29 seconds into the match.
Connor McKenna tied the match for Adams at 1:43 of the second half when he buried a rebound shot after Cuarenta’s initial stop. The Eagles went in front in the 49th minute as a Micah Fourman shot off a corner kick deflected in off a Slicers defender stationed at the right post.
Kaleb Cooper narrowly missed a tie-breaker for the Slicers (5-10-1) four minutes later, his try sliding by the left post. LP defender Imanol Chavez prevented another McKenna goal midway through the second half after Alex Juszczak had come out of the net to try to break up the play. The Slicers’ last good chance came on a Feikes slip-header with 6:05 left, but his re-direct off a free kick was secured by Coen Coen. Alberto Moriera’s rocket from 55 yards out on a free kick iced it with 65 seconds to go.
"They're a good team. I thought we played them pretty tough," LP coach Pat McCoy said. "We created enough chances to score, we just didn't finish."
Adams won the regular-season matchup 1-0.
Class 3A South Bend Adams Sectional
Plymouth 6, Michigan City 1
SB Adams 3, La Porte 1