Columbus North soccer player Tanner Johnson said it was a nerve-racking final minutes trying to come away with the go-ahead goal to win Wednesday night’s Conference Indiana matchup against Southport.

Johnson found an opening in the 76th minute off an assist from Lauryn Whitley that gave the Class 3A No. 7 Bull Dogs the 2-1 victory for their fourth consecutive win.

“We were trying so hard to get that second goal,” Johnson said. “It’s a good thing we got it. Unfortunately, it was at the end, but we got it.”

North coach Derek Stewart said the Cardinals (5-2-2, 0-1) played well, but that the Bull Dogs (7-0-1, 2-0-1) didn’t play their best game. Southport took an early lead with a Jacqui Bell goal in the 17th minute.

Caroline Hollenkamp tied the game with a goal in the 33rd minute.

“I thought at times (Southport) had a lot more energy and had the will to win more than we did,” Stewart said. “In the second half, we put a little bit more pressure on them. Tanner Johnson had a nice goal for the go-ahead goal, which was nice to see. We had several shots, several opportunities. We just need to capitalize on those.”

Shots were limited for both teams in the first half, but North attacked the goal more in the second half. Most of the Bull Dogs’ 10 shots on goal came in the second half, and Stewart said the team just looked to push the ball forward a little bit more in the final 40 minutes.

“We were trying to focus on possessing the ball,” Johnson said. “In the first half, we hardly connected passes, but we stepped it up in the second half.”

Stewart would like to see his team score goals earlier in the game but said North has come away with some late goals in the past few matches that have helped. Johnson said being able come away with goals late in matches will be good for the team when the postseason comes around.

“It’s good, especially for conference games, and if we need to get past regional and sectional,” Johnson said. “If we’re down to that, it’s important to know that we can finish strong.”

Bull Dogs goalkeeper Liz Tynan posted three saves on Southport’s four shots on goal. Emily Chambers had eight saves for the Cardinals.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.