SEYMOUR — Columbus North scored on more opportunities when the ball wasn’t rolling.
The Bull Dogs’ boys soccer team converted a pair of set pieces in the opening four minutes en route to a 3-0 first-round sectional win Monday at Seymour.
North (11-5-1) first struck in the second minute when Rico Hollenkamp hit a free kick from 40 yards into the box, and Finn Anderson headed it into the top-right corner for a score from just inside 12 yards.
Hollencamp had another superb launch in the fourth minute. The junior slammed a direct kick from near the center of the 18 and bounced and slotted a shot off the post to give the Bull Dogs the 2-0 advantage.
The Owls (12-4) took their first shot just inside the ninth minute when Payton Reasoner took a cross from Daniel Hartman on goal, but it was saved by North keeper Mark Salle-Tabor.
Seymour had a pair of golden opportunities within a two-minute span midway through the first half. A corner kick was cleared right in front of the North goal, and a direct kick from 10 yards hit a Bull Dogs wall inside the goal.
In the 28th minute, Hollencamp catapulted a shot from 30 yards — on yet another set piece — but Seymour keeper Elliott Clark extended for the high save.
“(The early goals) gave us quite a boost,” North assistant coach Chris Morlock said. “That tends to get another team down. As well as we did those first 10 minutes, we took our foot off the gas. They had a few moments in the middle of the first half where they were really pressuring us. We made some adjustments then it evened out.”
At the half, the Bull Dogs had outshot the Owls 8-5 while holding Seymour scoreless.
“I thought we competed decently well in the first half and a lot better in the second half,” Seymour coach Matt Dennis said. “We had threatening chances. I think we were one pass or one shot from getting a goal in the first half, which would have changed the complexion of the match.”
North’s Alex McGill stole the ball from a pair of defenders and hit a shot from 12 yards which was deflected off a Seymour body into the back of the net in the 44th minute.
A free kick from 35 yards by the Owls’ Cole Fosbrink was deflected just outside the box, and Brayan Morales had a shot on goal, but the try sailed just high of the crossbar in the 48th minute.
In the 79th minute, Hartman took a free kick from 20 yards in the center of the field, but it went high of the goal.
North coach Andy Glover was issued a yellow card and then a red card on the sidelines prior to the kick. Per IHSAA rules, he will miss Wednesday’s semifinal game against Madison, but would return for Saturday’s championship game should the Bull Dogs advance.
North outshot Seymour 15-13. Morlock said that the team didn’t play particularity well in one third.
“The game ebbed and flowed,” he said. “There were parts where we were good in the offensive third and then parts when it wasn’t so great. I would say none. We were OK in each (third) but not great.”