No. 12-rated Central faces its ex-coach in boys soccer tonight
Posted: 10/11/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Anthony Anderson
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Penn boys soccer head coach Ryan Leniski moves around the field during warm-ups before a match with visiting Mishawaka Marian on Aug. 29. The last time Ryan Leniski and the Central boys soccer team shared the same field in a postseason match, it involved Leniski guiding the Blue Blazers during the 2006 state championship game at Indianapolis. Central and Penn will square off tonight in a Class 2A Mishawaka Regional semifinal.
Truth Photo By Larry Tebo
So there figures to be a bit of surreal feel when Leniski leads his Penn Kingsmen against No. 12 Central in the Class 2A Mishawaka Regional semifinals tonight, Oct. 11, at Baker Park.
The Blazers come in at 15-2-1, while Leniskiís lately surging Kingsmen are 10-8.
The showdown between the Northern Indiana Conference rivals goes off at about 7 p.m., following the 5 p.m. semifinal between No. 2-ranked Warsaw (16-1-2) and South Bend St. Joseph (13-3-2).
Early in the regular season, Central broke free of a 2-2 halftime deadlock to defeat Penn 4-2.
Sherwin Simon, the third Blazer coach since Leniski left after that 2006 season to start the Holy Cross College program, is in his first year at Central.
Leniski, who is still an Elkhart elementary school teacher, handed off the Holy Cross program after two just years ó including a 9-8 mark in that programís first-ever varsity season ó then returned to his alma mater Penn last fall.
His first Kingsman club went 15-4-3 with NIC and sectional titles before the Blazers succeeded Penn as NIC champs this fall.
At Central, Leniski went 99-35-18 over eight years and was chosen league coach of the year by his peers five times. His final six Blazer teams went 36-0-7 in the conference, capped by four straight outright titles.
Leniskiís 2006 club, which lost that final to nationally acclaimed Carmel, remains the only Elkhart County boys soccer team ever to play for an IHSAA state title. The tourney is now in its 19th year.
Bethany Christian almost became the second last season, falling one game short, and the Bruins are in pursuit again.
Under first-year coach Mark Yoder, 1A No. 7 Bethany (15-5) meets Wheeler (8-9) in a LaVille Regional semifinal this evening at Newton Park, following the 6 p.m. semi between Boone Grove (13-4) and Michigan City Marquette (15-3).
Title matches at both Mishawaka and Newton Park are set for 7 p.m. Saturday.