The hard work that Columbus East senior Justin Copas put into working on his free kicks during the offseason and every week during the season helped the Olympians overcome East Central on Wednesday night.
It was a scoreless game until a free kick opportunity in the 59th minute allowed for Copas to score the only goal in a 1-0 win.
Copas said he puts so much emphasis improving his free kicks because they are such a big part of the game.
“It’s a great opportunity, especially that close to the goal,” Copas said. “You can’t pass that opportunity up, so you have to work on it throughout the week. I took a couple before the game, and they were on frame, and I was just feeling it.”
It was a pretty physical matchup between the two teams, and coach Brad Barber said the Olympians did a good job of handling the the physical aspect of the game. Barber felt he players did a good job of attacking and defending in the first half, but made a slight change to the team’s approach for the final 40 minutes.
“I thought we moved the ball really well and attacked the width in the first half,” Barber said. “What we wanted to do (in the second half) is be a little bit more dynamic. We wanted to go over the top of them and through them. I felt like we did that a number of times in the second half to create dangerous opportunities, and the free kick came from playing the ball over the top.”
The Olympians (3-2-2) put five shots on goal to three for the Trojans (5-2). Columbus East goalkeeper Zach Roberts had three saves.
The Olympians had three consecutive games without a win until this point. They tied with Seymour and Bloomington North before falling to Columbus North on Saturday.
Barber said having the mental toughness to pull out these types of games throughout the season is something his players are continuing to develop.
“To have the mental toughness to come out and get the first goal in the second half, we were right there on the door step many times, and to still get the shutout is important,” Barber said.