With a strong wind blowing from north to south, Columbus North girls soccer coach Derek Stewart wanted the wind at his back in the first half of Saturday afternoon’s sectional final against Columbus East.
So when the Bull Dogs won the coin toss, they took the wind. They took advantage of that wind to scored twice in the first half and added another goal going against the wind in the second half for a 3-0 victory.
“It certainly contributed to the first couple of goals,” East coach Ilya Schwartzman said. “We had a little bit of trouble handling the wind, and they took advantage of it. But both teams played with and against the wind. North is a very good squad, very deep, and today they were a better side.”
The Bull Dogs (11-2-4) move on to the East Central Regional, where they will play Batesville in the semifinals at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The regional final is at 7 p.m. Saturday.
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North scored the only goal it would need against the Olympians in the eighth minute. Tanner Johnson took a pass from Kristen Orben and put it through the hands of East keeper Brooke Hamblen.
“It was a perfect pass, and I just got one touch and a shot,” Johnson said. “It was nice.”
The Bull Dogs added a second goal in the 30th minute. Addy Lang took a lead pass from Caroline Hollenkamp and put the ball inside the left post for a 2-0 lead.
“We knew we’d need at least one more, if not two more before the half because they wind was a factor, and a lot of play was on that side of the field,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “For some reason, we tend to score goals late in the first half.”
The Olympians, who managed only one shot in the first half, had a little more possession time in their offensive half of the field in the second half. They had two shots on goal in the final 40 minutes, but could not convert.
Meanwhile, the Bull Dogs ended any hope of an East comeback when Lang scored her second goal of the game in the 67th minute. She headed in a rebound off Orben’s shot off the crossbar.
“It’s pretty exciting that we came together and finally united as a team and played together and finished well,” Lang said.
North finished with a 23-3 shot advantage. The Bull Dogs put 14 shots on goal to two for the Olympians.
Liz Tynan played the first 76 minutes in goal for North and recorded two saves. Kaylyn Bates did not face a shot in the final four minutes.
“I’m so proud of the kids,” Stewart said. “They did a nice job and came out to play today.”
Hamblen posted 14 saves for East. The Olympians, which tied for the Hoosier Hills Conference title, finished 9-7-2.
“I’m really proud of our kids,” Schwartzman said. “They competed, worked very hard to get to the level we’re playing at right now. We had some tough losses this season, but they’ve all been to very, very good teams. I couldn’t be more proud of the effort today and the attitude and how we approached the game.”