By KEVIN HARRIS
From 1999-2006, the Providence boys’ soccer team made it a habit of taking home regional championship trophies as it captured four of them in that span.
On Saturday afternoon, the Pioneers restarted the regional-title tradition.
Two second-half goals and another stellar defensive effort enabled Providence to win the Class A Switzerland County Regional final, defeating defending regional champion Lawrenceburg 2-0. It was the Pioneers’ first regional crown since 2006 and their first in the class tournament era. They will play defending Class A state runner-up Evansville Mater Dei (11-7-3) in the second semifinal of the Class A Floyd Central Semistate at about noon next Saturday.
“It feels great. We felt like we earned it,” Providence senior co-captain Pierce Crawley said.
Fellow Pioneer co-captain Andrew Wimp said he and his teammates started to really believe in themselves during last Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Christian Academy in the Class A Providence Sectional championship.
“We started having confidence against Christian Academy,” the senior forward said. “After we won that, we had confidence in ourselves.”
Following a scoreless first half, the Pioneers (12-5-2) broke the tie early in the second half on a penalty kick.
At the 41:41 mark of the contest, Crawley got tripped up by a Lawrenceburg player in the penalty area, giving Providence a penalty kick.
Crawley was too shaken up to attempt the PK, so he told Wimp to make the kick. Wimp came through by booting the ball in the back of the goal past Tigers’ goalkeeper William Schwing.
“He had confidence in me and I had confidence in myself,” Wimp said.
The Pioneers’ lead grew to two goals with 14:29 left in regulation. Crawley launched a corner kick in the goal box, where Providence senior John Murray received the ball and tapped it just over the goal line.
“The boys took that corner kick upon themselves and finished it. We’ve worked on corners the last three weeks,” Providence coach Brandon Rogers said.
The Pioneers’ defense got the job done again in the 2012 postseason.
For the third time in the last four games, Providence shut out its opponent. That included the Pioneers’ 5-0 blanking of Salem in Thursday’s regional semifinal.
Providence goalkeeper Jeffrey Wiles made five saves, and the Pioneers allowed only three shots on goal in the second half. Joining Wiles in the Providence defense were Cody Schrank, Tommy Davis, Logan Rauck and Nick Reas.
“They played well. Our four backs played well and so did Jeff Wiles,” Rogers said. “We talked all week that they had to be solid. Our defenders came through for us.”
Crawley said the Pioneers’ defense was a huge key in the victory.
“I thought our goalie Jeff played well and so did our sweeper Cody,” Crawley said.
Rogers thinks Providence has the potential to make a deep run in the state tournament and is looking forward to its matchup with Mater Dei next week.
“We’ve got a lot of talented players on this team. This run is not over,” Rogers said. “We’re going to come ready to play. We expect a great game from Evansville.”
Crawley, Murray, Wiles and Wimp each made the all-regional team, with Crawley being named the regional’s MVP.
Lawrenceburg ended the season with a 12-8 record.
CLASS A SWITZERLAND COUNTY REGIONAL
Providence 0 2—2
Lawrenceburg 0 0—0
P — Andrew Wimp (penalty kick), 41:41.
P — John Murray (Pierce Crawley), 65:31.