Panthers edge past Bull Dogs

Columbus North boys soccer coach Andy Glover described Tuesday evening’s showdown with Bloomington South as a game of moments.

Just one brief moment made all the difference as the Class 2A No. 9 Panthers escaped with a 1-0 win at the Richard Wigh Complex.

Both teams battled through 65 minutes of scoreless action until Bloomington South senior Deo Moore found himself alone and with the ball a lengthy 40 yards away from the goal. At that moment, Moore bolted a shot that twisted back and looped just past North keeper Preston Grimes to glance off the right goal post and into the back left corner of the net.

Already locked in a physical duel, the host Bull Dogs then turned up their intensity even higher but still came away empty.

“We just didn’t have enough moments for us,” said Glover, whose crew could face the Panthers again in Saturday’s Conference Indiana Tournament. “They defended us just a little better, but we’ll continue to work and improve.”

Bloomington South did, indeed, defend well. The visitors limited the Bull Dogs (5-4-3) to three shot attempts, while firing off eight of their own. North’s starting keeper, senior Ty Bentham, paced an aggressive defense and came away with a pair of saves, while fellow senior Grimes replaced Bentham in the second half and registered a trio of saves.

North’s best chance of a score in the first half came in the 27th minute when Rico Hollenkamp blasted a free kick attempt from well beyond 35 yards, only to be stopped at the last moment by Panther keeper Ryan Yohn.

Hollenkamp had a similar scenario in the second half in the 62nd minute, but his attempt that time sailed over the top of the goal. A shot attempt by freshman Zack Friend in the second half was also off the mark.

North compensated at the other end by getting steady defense from players like Mason Shaffer, Alex Davidison, Lucas McGill, Jannis Anderson and Tyler Heathcote.

“We played a good team, and it’s likely we’ll see them again,” Glover said. “We played them three times last year, so we’re quite familiar with them.”