Millers sweep state: Miller soccer wins both the boys and girls state championships

The+boys+team+celebrates+with+the+state+title+trophy+after+defeating+Columbus+North+1-0.+They+are+now+back-to-back+state+champions.

The boys team celebrates with the state title trophy after defeating Columbus North 1-0. They are now back-to-back state champions.

Gabe Fryling, Sports Editor

It was the final Saturday in October. State championship day. Both teams have circled the date since before the season even started. Both squads knew they had a chance to end up here but neither knew the path that would lead to this game. But none of this mattered now. As they stepped onto the pitch, all thoughts faded away. There was only one goal now — to win. 

October 29, 2022 will go down 8n history as one of the most memorable dates in Noblesville soccer history. Both the boys and girls programs achieved the ultimate goal — a state championship. The boys team defended the state title they picked up last year by defeating Columbus North 1-0, with senior captain Jake Johns scoring the lone goal for the Millers. The girls team also won by a 1-0 margin, with senior captain Ava Bramblett scoring the only goal of the contest. This year’s title became the ladies third state championship in four years, achieving a feat the players on the team couldn’t have imagined. 

“It’s all we could ever ask for,” Bramblett said. “Scoring a goal is what you want to do at every game, no matter who it is. It happened to be me, but no matter who would’ve scored, I’d have been happy.”

This state title has been in the works ever since the girls’ defeat in regionals last season.  Girls head coach Mike Brady has said the team has worked to climb back and establish themselves as state champions once again to prove that they are the most dominant program in the state. 

“This is what we worked for all season. They did what our goal was before the season started, and that was to win a state championship,” Brady said.

But championships are won only on the field. Winning like the Millers do requires a team that is closely-knit. And Brady has worked to build a program that continues to win, year-in and year-out. 

“We’ve created a culture that is going for this level of success,” Brady said. “I have seniors that haven’t lost more than four games in all of high school, and you’re not going to see a class like that in a very long time.”

This year’s girls senior class boasts one of the most impressive records to be found in any sport, featuring almost as many state titles as losses during their four years. But the team says this particular win was even more special because of their opponent, one of their biggest rivals: Carmel High School.

“It’s not like playing a new team, as we have already played them in season, so we knew what we were facing,” senior Lauren Adam said. “Just the emotion of beating them is amazing, as there is always a need to beat Carmel.”

The girls were not the only ones to overcome adversity from the past season, as the boys had to defend a state championship despite losing ten starters from last year’s squad. They say this year was an uphill battle that shaped them into two-time state champions. 

“We worked really hard last year knowing we had a really strong class in front of us, so this year we continued to work just as hard,” senior captain Landon Huber said. 

This large graduating class left significant gaps for the team, but the team’s seniors stepped up, seeing this as an opportunity to grow closer as a team. 

“Coming back with only one varsity starter, we had a tough battle ahead of us,” senior captain Jackson Montgomery said. “We created a close team chemistry, so we could improve as a team, and it worked out well for us.”

This close bond helped the team grow as the season progressed, overcoming challenges as a team, and the group rounded into form before the tournament started. Yet the players were not the only ones to notice this close bond, as the varsity boys head coach Kenneth Dollaske saw the team coming together as well.

“All of these guys are just the best of friends, and that just makes it so much easier in training. We’re gonna push each other in training and in games, but we know it’s never personal, and that we’re just trying to get better each day,” Dollaske said.

But state championships are usually unpredictable, and teams cannot fully prepare for everything that might happen. With all of the excitement and tension the team felt during the tourney, coaches and players try to set expectations and plan for everything, yet the game can still go in directions no one anticipated. 

“In a state title game there can’t really be any expectations,” said Dollaske. “The lone expectation I had was to come away with more points on the scoreboard than the opponent. Did the game go as planned? No. But does that matter in the end? Absolutely not.”

The win was everything the players and coaches expected, but the team was forced to carry the high expectations of becoming state champions last fall. Yet Dollaske does not want people to compare this year’s win to their 2021 title. 

“Last year was sweet, and this year is just as sweet,” said Dollaske.