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Ringing the bell

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Shelbyville senior Evan Witte looks for an open teammate on Saturday against Delta. The Golden Bears won 1-0. Shelbyville's Cameron Baker looks on from behind.
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The Shelbyville soccer team won the HHC Traveling Trophy (Bell) Saturday against Delta.

By KRIS MILLS - kmills@shelbynews.com

With the ball at his feet, Evan Witte drew the defense towards him on the left side of the net. With a swift kick of the leg, Witte made a nifty pass to a wide open teammate waiting in front of the goal. 

Oscar Hernandez did the rest. 

Witte found Hernandez for the only score of the game Saturday in a Hoosier Heritage Conference showdown between Shelbyville and Delta. With the HHC Traveling Trophy (bell) up for grabs, both teams refused to give in. The score was locked at 0-0 until late in the second half. 

Witte and Hernandez made a beautiful connection with just over 10 minutes to play, which was followed by a huge celebration from the SHS sideline. The Golden Bears know how hard it is to earn possession of the conference's traveling prize. For the seniors on the team, the victory was extra special. 

Witte, one of seven seniors on the team this year, said this season's group has the right chemistry. 

"We (seniors) have all been together for a very, very long time," Witte said, who played for Millennium Indy over the offseason (No. 3 in the state). "It has been a long ride. But I love these boys."

Witte's decision making with the ball has served Shelbyville well in his varsity career. He helped get a trophy that has been rotating in recent seasons back in the hands of the Golden Bears. 

"We won the bell two years ago against Pendleton," recalled SHS head coach Ben Purvis said. "We kept it through the end of the season and offseason. Then we lost it to Mt. Vernon last year. They kept it but Delta beat Mt. Vernon earlier this season.

"Starting the conference season on the right track is what we wanted to do. We had stretches (Saturday) where we did what we wanted to do, but what we have been working on it is getting that final ball (in goal)."

Shelbyville had several chances to score in the contest but could not get a ball past Delta's long and athletic keeper until the end. SHS finished the game with 26 shots. The Eagles had 12 shots as Golden Bear keeper Kaleb Schaf recorded his second shutout of the season. Schaf, a junior, has 63 saves in his first year starting on the varsity team. 

Judging the Golden Bears, who are now 3-3-2 overall and 1-0 in HHC play, by their record would not be wise. The team has played tough competition, which was part of the plan. Shelbyville is starting to see that plan pay off. SHS has losses to Hamilton Southeastern, Southport and Franklin Community this season. 

"We talked about playing a tougher non-conference schedule," Purvis said. "We have been in games. We have played fairly well against tough competition. The guys have set very high goals for themselves. They realize they are much better than a .500 team."

Hernandez, a junior, and senior Cory Taylor lead the Golden Bears with four goals this season. Hernandez also has a team-high three assists. Senior Nolan Parker and junior Eddie Carrizalez each have two goals. 

Shelbyville plays again Tuesday at Batesville. The team returns to HHC play Thursday at New Palestine. 

Kris Mills is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Kris on Twitter @KrisMills37. 

Shelbyville vs. Delta

Final Score: 1-0 Shelbyville

Player of the Game: SHS senior Evan Witte