Warrior hockey team brings home 3rd State title

Team continues to grow despite cynics

Julianna Martinez, Staff Reporter

If sophomore hockey player Richard Bozek had to describe winning state, he would call it unbelievable.On Saturday, March 6, the Bishop Noll hockey team won its 3rd state title–it’s second in three years–when they defeated the Valparaiso Vikings in the class 2A state championship game at Midwest Training and Ice Arena in Dyer 3-2.  The game was very close throughout most of the 2nd and 3rd periods when the teams were tied with one goal each, but the Warriors knew they had something left in their pockets.. 

Junior Sam Repay said, “Throughout most of the 2nd and 3rd period, I was nervous about whether or not we were going to get enough chances to score. During the 3rd period, we began playing a lot smoother after discussing what we needed to do to win during the ice cut and I felt that we were going to win if we kept pressuring them in their zone.” 

Many of the fans and players were filled with many emotions throughout the game, even Bozek and freshman Christian Figueroa. 

“I was overwhelmed with lots of emotions:, I was scared, nervous, and excited all at once,” said Bozek. 

Figueroa, who was on the bench, still felt the jitters when watching his teammates. “I felt anxious, but I had faith in my team and wanted to stay confident for them,.” he said.

The victory came in the last minute of the game when the Warriors’ forward Owen Rycerz, a sophomore at Hanover Central, secured a goal in an empty net. 

After the Bishop Noll Warriors beat the Valparaiso Viking’s 2-1, the team and fan section went out after the game to celebrate. 

“We were all very hyped after that win so we went and had dinner at the Kube with our family, team, and friends. There was a mechanical bull that everyone got to ride, and yeah, we all had a good time,” said Bozek. 

The hockey team will be losing seven  seniors, but they will not let that discourage them for next year’s season. Bishop Noll is projected to have six incoming freshmen that will play hockey. 

Figueroa said, “Although we won’t have as many seniors next season, I still feel confident in our chances next year.  It just means as a whole we will have to work harder.”

Even though the season has just ended, the Warriors already have plans for training season and have already met some of the incoming freshmen that plan on playing hockey next year. All Bishop Noll hockey players are able to participate in a spring league to play hockey. 

“We plan to play spring league with the other local teams and we will have summer conditioning,” stated Repay. 

Despite the team’s success and prestige they bring to the Bishop Noll name, there were plenty of cynics of them because of the low numbers of Noll students on it and the fact that it is an Indiana High School Hockey Association sport, not an IHSAA sport. The program, which was resurrected by head coach Rich Sobilo ‘83, six seasons ago, is collaborative in that it allows players from other teams to join. This year, there are three Noll students on the team; however, with six incoming freshmen–maybe more–that will bring the number of Noll students up to at least nine next year. .

“I would just say that you can’t hate something you’ve never watched or played in your life, until you’ve seen the excitement, the roaring of the stands when it’s an exciting game, and how intense and exciting everything is.You can’t hate on hockey for being the best sport there is. After all we did just win the 2A state title,” Bozek said.