Tanner Johnson had scored two goals four times this season, but had yet to produce a hat trick.
Tuesday night, she did it in the first half.
The sophomore’s three goals gave Columbus North a 3-0 halftime lead, and the Bull Dogs cruised from there to a 4-1 win against Greenwood in the opening round of the Columbus East Sectional.
“Tanner Johnson was on for sure tonight,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “She had some nice goals. That’s what we need, especially this time of year, so it was nice to see her finish those.”
The Class 3A No. 13 Bull Dogs (10-3-2) advance to play 3A No. 19 Center Grove (10-4-3) in Thursday’s first semifinal at 5 p.m. Columbus East and Franklin will follow at around 7 p.m..
Johnson put North on the board in the 10th minute when she took a deep goal kick from keeper Liz Tynan and chipped it over Greenwood keeper Maddy Moan.
“It took maybe one or two bounces, and I got it right over the keeper,” Johnson said. “It was a really nice ball from Liz.”
Johnson added an unassisted goal in the 22nd minute. Her third goal came in the 33rd minute when she knocked one in off the bottom of the crossbar.
Kayla Rance allowed the Woodmen (10-7) to avoid the shutout with a goal in the 61st minute. The Bull Dogs added their final tally in the 72nd minute on a penalty kick by Caroline Hollenkamp following a handball in the box.
“We played really well tonight, but after the three goals, we just need to focus on possession, and that’s what we did best the second half.”
North outshot Greenwood 28-6. The Bull Dogs put eight shots on goal to four for the Woodmen.
Tynan finished with four saves for North.
“I think we were well organized,” Stewart said. “We possessed most of the game. The team played well, and we’re happy with the result.”
The North-Center Grove battle will be a rematch of the season opener. The Bull Dogs won that game 2-1 on the same Richard Wigh Soccer Complex field.
“They’re a good team, and we’re looking forward to playing them,” Stewart said. “I’m sure it will be competitive, but I think we have a very good chance.”