Wichlinski sets up Zamora for lone goal as Bishop Noll wins program’s 1st state title
INDIANAPOLIS — A role reversal between sophomores Bruno Zamora and Jake Wichlinski netted Bishop Noll the program’s first state title.
Zamora’s clinical goal on a beautiful pass from Wichlinski lifted the Warriors to a 1-0 win against Indianapolis Ritter in Friday night’s Class 2A championship game at IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium.
Zamora was wide-eyed as he received his championship medal.
“We didn’t want anything less than this,” he said. “It’s like a dream. I haven’t even processed it yet. I’m in shock.”
Zamora, a midfielder, set a program record with 24 assists this season. Wichlinski, a forward, set a program record with 35 goals.
But with less than 28 minutes left Friday, Wichlinski threaded a pass that resulted in his ninth assist, with Zamora finishing for his 10th goal.
“I knew to look up and saw Bruno making the perfect run,” Wichlinski said. “I said, ‘Please, God, let this go through.’ And it went through. It turned out perfectly.”
Zamora, who exited the game for six minutes in the first half after getting kicked in the right knee, showed plenty of speed on the decisive goal for the Warriors (20-2).
“I just had to do my part and give an option for Jake,” Zamora said. “He played an amazing ball across. I got it, looked up at goal
and everything slowed down. The next thing I knew, it was in the back of the net.”
Bishop Noll coach Quinn Cloghessy was elated after the goal.
“I knew we were going to have to take our chances,” Cloghessy said. “I knew we had the speed up there to generate something.
“Hats off to them — they’re a great team, well coached, and well organized. I knew our chances were going to be sparse.”
Senior goalkeeper Danny Salazar rebuffed any chance Ritter (18-5-1) might have generated, making seven saves.
“I wasn’t even thinking,” Salazar said. “Thankfully I just got those saves.
“Since we were freshmen, this is what we wanted. We worked so hard — so hard. It’s beautiful. This is for the Region — every school, all my club brothers.”
Salazar left the game for two minutes in the first half after getting the wind knocked out of him. In the interim, sophomore Miguel Mendoza made a key save.
“He did his job — perfect,” Salazar said of Mendoza.
Bishop Noll was driven throughout this season after losing 1-0 to Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran in a semistate last season. The Warriors avenged that loss with a 3-2 semistate win.
And they finished the job by winning the state title in their first trip.
“This was destiny,” Wichlinski said. “Going into the season, we wanted to make history. The minute we scored, we knew we were going to win this game. We wanted to do it for the seniors.”
The championship was especially meaningful for Cloghessy. He graduated from Noll in 2010 and spent three seasons as an assistant before taking over this season.
“When you tell a team, ‘Let’s go win state,’ it’s almost like a pipe dream,” Cloghessy said. “But the more and more these guys won, the more they started to believe in themselves.
“When the deck is stacked against you, these guys proved if you work hard and believe in yourself, you’re going to get results. I’m so happy for them — they deserve it.”
The Bishop Noll boys soccer team bring the state championship trophy to the fans after winning the Class 2A state final 1-0 against Indianapolis Ritter on Friday.
Bishop Noll’s Bruno Zamora, left, attempts to tip the ball away from Indianapolis Ritter’s Ryan Hofer during the Class 2A state championship game on Friday.