EXPRESS LANE / Soccer teams capture state championships
June 7, 2019

The Columbus Express Soccer Club took home a couple of state championships on Sunday at Grand Park in Westfield.

The 05 Boys Orange team won 3-0 in the Presidents Cup finals against Millennium Soccer Academy, and the 03 Boys Orange team won 1-0 in the Challenge Cup finals against Indiana Fire Juniors White.

In the Presidents Cup finals, Nathan Imlay netted two goals, and Flynn Keele added a goal. Goalkeeper Lukas Iorio preserved the shutout.

“Winning the cup feels really good because we worked really hard at practice,” Iorio said. “We were all able to work as a team. We were passing the ball really well and getting some scoring opportunities.”

By winning the Presidents Cup, the 05 Orange team will compete in the Presidents Cup Regional June 13-17 in Overland Park, Kansas.

The road wasn’t easy for the Orange 05.  In group play, it sneaked by with a couple of 1-0 victories and a 1-1 draw to make it to the championship bracket. Orange 05 beat Fort Wayne Sport Club 2-0 in the semifinals.

“We just barely got by in the first round,” 05 Orange player Anthony Johnson said. “Going into the semifinals and finals, we beat both teams pretty well as a team and individually.”

The 05 Orange are 19-1-3 so far against Indiana opponents this season. In the 23 games, it has scored 61 goals and allowed only 13, with 12 shutouts.

The 05 Orange team is coached by Ty Smith, who also is the Director of Coaching for CESC.  The team consists of Columbus residents Derek Arau, Oscar Ballinas, Ryan Beck, Danny Coriden, Micah Corya, Pavit Dhillon, Nathan Imlay, Mateo Improvola, Lukas Iorio, Anthony Johnson, Flynn Keele, Adrian Monter Ugarte, Justin Sylva Aidan Whitley, Michael Wolf; Connersville residents Conner Graves and Jasper Martin; Franklin resident JD Sever and Seymour resident Sam Chandler.

“Since the fall, these guys felt like they had something to prove. They have beaten every team they’ve played from Indiana, except one,” Smith said. “It’s really been a testament of the kids being focused on what we need to do to be successful and making some sacrifice towards being successful and ultimately doing the work that nobody else wanted to do. Winning the Presidents Cup was something that was well deserved.”

In the Challenge Cup, the 03 Orange went 2-0-1 in group play. The team then beat Circle City FC 4-1 in the semifinals with two goals from Cole Martin and goals by Jake Gilliam and Colin Haveman.

In the Challenge Cup finals, Jo Deckard scored the goal off a Jesse Williams assist. Dreagen Ison preserved the shutout.

The 03 Orange are 10-1-1 against opponents in the Indiana Soccer League and Indiana Challenge Cup. It has scored 30 goals and allowed six, with seven shutouts.

The 03 Orange team is coached by Hanover College women’s assistant Ben Tierney. Team members include Roberto Cardoso, Jacob Gilliam, Daniel Kelley, Bryce Lynn and Jesse Williams of Columbus North; Jo Deckard, Ben Romig and Branson Young of Columbus East; Dreagen Ison of Jennings County, Kevin Cervantes of Seymour; Colin Haveman of Franklin; Brock Dungan, Lane Dungan and Cole Martin of Connersville and home-schooled student Landon Evans.