Local Sports

Shelbyville scores 16 goals, gets two shutouts to win invitational

Shelbyville boys soccer put on a dominant performance Saturday in winning the 30th Annual Shelbyville Invitational.

The Golden Bears defeated Knightstown, 11-0, in the morning semifinal contest then shut down Herron, 5-0, in the championship with a senior-laden roster.

“That was a pretty good day,” agreed Shelbyville head coach Ben Purvis. “I was pretty happy with the performance across the board.”

With senior goalkeeper Jalen Hounshell and veteran defensemen in front of him, Purvis believes the Golden Bears can keep opponents in check. The difference maker for Shelbyville wins will be putting goals on the scoreboard.

“Offensively, we have struggled a little bit this year so to see things click was really exciting for me,” said Purvis. “I wasn’t sure what to think about our defense coming into this year but it has been our calling card. So to come in on a hot day, two games in the same day, for them to keep the intensity and the mental focus to get shutouts was phenomenal.”

Shelbyville entered its invitational Saturday with a 1-2-1 record and just seven goals scored (six coming in a 6-0 win over Oldenburg Academy).

The Golden Bears wasted little time attacking winless Knightstown, scoring seven first-half goals in 40 minutes and cruising to its first double-digit goal-scoring performance in almost two years.



Drew Hassebroek, Al Hernandez, Osvaldo Reyes (photo, right) and Diego Hernandez each had two goals in the win. Aiden Helfer-Vazquez, Diego Rosales and Mylez Clark also had goals.

Eight different Golden Bears had assists.

“It’s hard to say on a day when you score 16 goals, but we have struggled to score and we have spent every day in practice trying to find a way to unlock what can get us opportunities,” said Purvis. “When we went up to Hamilton Heights (a 1-0 loss on Aug. 23), we had 19 shots and zero goals. Just trying to find ways when Drew and Al are on the ball and creating for themselves or their teammates, how do we convert more of those chances. I think today was a really good step forward on some things we can do getting the ball to feet, using our speed on the wings to slip in behind defenses and create those chances.

“If we can do that more consistently, I think this year could be a very special year. Our record is not reflected where our effort and our talent is just because we have been unable to unlock other teams’ defenses and 16 goals in two games makes me very optimistic we’ve started to find that connection.”

Herron (3-2) did not score a goal in regulation in the invitational but still slipped by Batesville in the second semifinal with a 3-1 advantage in penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation.

Batesville rebounded for a 6-1 victory over Knightstown in the consolation match to improve to 4-2 this season. Knightstown dropped to 0-3.

Shelbyville had the edge in team depth, an easier semifinal win and more time to recover before the championship match with Herron. The Golden Bears took full advantage with two goals in the match’s first eight minutes.

Hassebroek delivered the ball to Hernandez, who beat the Herron goalkeeper to the near post for a quick 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest.

Senior Benny Cazares pushed upfield on a long run and fought off a Herron defender to beat the goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead with 32 minutes left in the opening half.



Senior Christian Haas (photo, right) got in on the scoring at the 24:35 mark to make it 3-0, which would hold up to halftime.

Aiden Helfer-Vazquez was credited with a goal early in the second half when his shot hit the top crossbar and landed in goal.

Hassebroek finished off the scoring with 15:29 to go with a strong shot to the far corner.

The Achaeans put pressure on the Shelbyville defense for an extended stretch late in the first half but could not beat Hounshell, who was credited with nine saves.

“Jalen’s development in the back has been crucial to us this year,” said Purvis. “He played really well as a junior but he was raw and there were some things he needed to improve on. He has put in the work like I never would have expected. He has given the entire defense confidence in the way we can play moving forward.”

Working in front of Hounshell are seniors Carlos Torres, Zavier Leon, Brayden Jones and Cazares.

“It is a wonderful thing to have defenders as outside backs (Jones and Cazares) that we trust on the ball,” said Purvis. “Even Benny getting one of the early goals today as an outside back pressing all the way high, we’ve not had that kind of depth and talent across the board in the back line where we can play under control and possessions rather than just trying to kick it and hope we go win the ball in the midfield. I think this is possibly the most connected group that I’ve had since I’ve been coaching.”

Transitioning possession to Hassebroek and Hernandez, both seniors, in the midfield is the key to Shelbyville’s offense.

“Between Drew and Al, our two center mids, I would put them up against any other pair we’re going to see and possibly in central Indiana,” said Purvis. “Those two and what they can do when they are connected and playing together is the best tandem that we’ve had in the middle of the field. We’ve had great players in the past but not two at the level they are playing at.”

Helfer-Vazquez is a sophomore while Reyes is a junior.

Other Golden Bears that saw multiple minutes in the championship include sophomore Jett Suiter, senior Jack Johnson, junior Benjamin Price and senior Antonio Harbert.



“I love this team,” said Purvis. “This is a phenomenal team. We have a lot of seniors. They have been together and been with me a very long time. It’s a special group that has the right mentality.

“Sometimes you can get this many kids and senior-year egos can become an issue because they think it’s their last year and they have to do certain things and have to get certain stats. This team is always playing for the name on the front of the jersey and it’s beautiful to watch. When they are that connected and supporting each other, I do think they will do some special things that haven’t been done here in awhile.”

Shelbyville travels to Madison (3-1) Thursday before opening the Hoosier Heritage Conference schedule Saturday at Delta (2-2-1, 0-1 HHC).

Jeff Brown and Steve Bush photos