JEFFERSONVILLE — Columbus North and Class 2A No. 9 Evansville Memorial were in a deadlock battle during Saturday’s semistate boys soccer semifinal.
After the Bull Dogs scored the equalizer late in the second half to make it 2-2, it was on to extra time. With the score still leveled, the outcome was decided on penalty kicks.
During the kicks, Memorial got the winning kick from its fifth and final player to send the North home in a 3-2 heartbreaker.
Regardless of what the final score indicated, Bull Dogs coach Andy Glover was proud of his team’s fight and effort.
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“We liked being in the underdog role, and we just played a team that was constantly ranked at the top all year,” Glover said. “We pushed them to the ‘nth’ degree. We were every bit on par, if not a little bit, the better team today, and they know that. That’s OK because sometimes the better team loses. We’ll go on and reconstruct and reevaluate and try to move forward next season.”
The loss was tough on the North seniors, knowing they were so close to getting to state.
“All of us seniors put everything out on the field, and we never gave up,” senior Ian Hussey said. “It’s not only us seniors, but I think our younger guys lead, too, and we all have such a great leadership mentality.”
The roles that the seniors played on the team could carry over for the program for years to come.
“It did not end the way the seniors wanted it to,” Glover said. “My words to the team were that the seniors left a stamp on the program that allows them to continue to be good.”
The Tigers struck first when Andrew Cross timed his jump just right and was off on a breakaway. His shot sailed past Bull Dogs goalkeeper Zach Green and into the net in the 15th minute.
North (15-6-1) answered back in the 25th minute when Rico Hollenkamp passed the ball to Vinicius Viana, who lofted a high sailing kick from way outside of the goalbox. The kick was perfect as Tigers goalkeeper Max Durchoff’s leaping save attempt was out of reach.
In the second half, Memorial (17-4-1) broke the tie when Cross was delivered a pass to Sam Bonano, who turned it and booted it in goal in the 56th minute.
In the 75th minute, a ball was pushed forward to North’s Alex McGill. After McGill took a couple touches and delivered a desperation kick, the Tigers defenders and Durchoff were caught off-guard on the kick as it sneaked past for the goal to tie the game.
Following 14 minutes of scoreless overtime, the match went to penalty kicks.
In the shootout, the Bull Dogs were up first, and McGill’s shot was right at Durchoff. Memorial’s Luke Brougham’s shot was saved by Mark Salle-Tabor, who subbed in for Green late in the first half.
In the second round, Hollenkamp’s shot was saved by Durchoff, and the Tigers got on the board with a shot from Bonano. Nick Beales was the third man up for the Bull Dogs but his shot was denied by Durchoff. Cross overshot the goal but the Tigers still led 1-0 after three rounds.
Both teams converted on their fourth- and fifth-round shots. Hussey and Daniel Viana scored the goals for North. Conor King scored in the fourth round for the Tigers, and Marco Lara kicked the game winner for the Tigers.