A pesky Southport boys soccer team went toe-to-toe with Columbus North and escaped with a 2-1 victory Thursday evening at the Richard Wigh Complex.
The small but speedy Cardinals played the aggressor most of the match and kept the host Bull Dogs from finding a balanced rhythm until late into the Conference Indiana East Division contest. The guests held a 1-0 at intermission and then quickly answered North’s lone goal in the second half to keep the momentum in their possession.
“Southport is a very fast team and it was clear they wanted the win,” North coach Andy Glover said. “Everybody collectively takes responsibility for this, and we’ll learn from it going forward.”
After being outshot 5-2 in the first half, the Bull Dogs (3-2-2, 1-1) turned up their attack and used their physical size to create more opportunities to score. Five minutes into the second half, senior Tyler Heathcote lined up a free kick deep outside the top of the box and blasted a line drive that hit the top of the goal and ricocheted down into the net.
Unfortunately, North had little time to enjoy the 1-1 tie as Southport’s Anthony Bil broke free along the right side of the box and fired a shot just past senior keeper Ty Bentham. The Cards were back in front and managed to hold on, despite the Bull Dogs getting several more chances to knot the contest again.
A header attempt in the 64th minute sailed just left of the goal, while a pair of deep free kicks by sophomore Rico Hollenkamp were both just off the mark. Hollenkamp’s second boomer appeared to be on target, only to bounce in front of the goal and then over the top.
North’s best chance at scoring in the first half came in the 16th minute when Alex McGill booted in a shot, only to be nullified by an offsides call. Southport then hit paydirt nearly 10 minutes later after Lal Mawl knocked in a rebound shot that North failed to clear.
“This is another example of how there are no easy games on our schedule,” Glover said. “It’s up to us to find the positives and keep improving as a team.”