SEYMOUR — Like the purple and orange sunset over the pitch, little separated the Seymour and Columbus East boys soccer teams on Tuesday.
In a battle to the finish, in front of what was believed to be a record crowd, neither team could get the edge on the turf in a 2-2 Hoosier Hills Conference game draw.
The “O Cup” will stay in Seymour for another year since the tiebreaker goes to the junior varsity game victor. East had plenty of opportunities in the varsity match, but couldn’t find the extra push to get the win.
“I thought we possessed the ball really well,” East coach Brad Barber said. “We outshot them 30-9 and 15-6 on target. I can’t be happier than the opportunities they created. You have to tip your hat to their goalkeeper (Elliott Clark). He had an outstanding game and was player of the match, in my opinion.”
Both teams battled for possession through the opening minutes until the Owls’ Zach Moore crossed a free kick in from the right side of the box from 30 yards. Moore’s cross was deflected out by an Olympians defender and sailed into the middle of the box in the fourth minute.
East’s Eli Newell fed a ball from the right side of the box to the head of Jorge Nieto in the 10th minute, but was met by Seymour center back Alex Westfall and cleared.
In the 16th minute, the Owls’ Daniel Hartman hit a ball out of the air in the center of the field from 40 yards with the inside of his foot on a pass by Cole Fosbrink, which went over East keeper Zach Roberts’ head.
The Olympians (2-1-1, 0-1-1) answered in the 21st minute when Dustin Rodgers hit a screamer off an assist by Eli Newell to tie the game.
East wasted no time getting another score. Eric Stiles weaved through Seymour defense and slipped a shot past Clark, off an assist by Justin Copas from 12 yards in the 22nd minute.
The Owls (2-0-1, 0-0-1) answered soon after. A corner by Fosbrink found the head of Moore in the 24th minute, equalizing the game at 2-2. While both teams had chances to retake the lead, neither could get another to go in, and the teams stayed deadlocked.
Out of the break, Copas took a shot from 20 yards on a free kick in the center of the field, but it was saved by Clark in the 52nd minute. Copas stayed aggressive, rifling another shot at Clark in the 55th minute, but it was again saved.
The game got more physical as the minutes waned down. Halfway through the second period, Hartman shot a free kick from 25 yards after Tyler Penegar got tripped, but it was saved by East.
Seymour had a pair of corner kicks in the final four minutes, but both were neutralized by the Olympians’ back line.
“I think we need more efficiency in the attacking third,” Barber said. “We need to be able to have that change of pace, change of direction, to get away a defender and create that half second, and the little detail of finding the side of the net.”