SEYMOUR — While it took a little longer than it would have liked, the Columbus North boys’ soccer team has started to peak.
Behind four goals from junior Alex McGill, the Bull Dogs punched their ticket to Saturday’s Seymour Sectional championship by defeating the hosts 5-0 on Wednesday.
North (13-5-1) will face Class 3A No. 19 Columbus East at 2 p.m. Saturday for the championship. The Olympians defeated Jennings County 4-0 in the early game Wednesday.
On the first true shot attempt of the game, in the fourth minute, McGill rifled a shot from 10 yards past Owls keeper Elliott Clark to the far post to put the Bull Dogs on the scoreboard.
Seymour’s Evan Baurle got loose and fired a shot just inside the 18-yard box, but it was pushed out by North’s Noah Kestler in the 27th minute. The Owls (13-4-1) were able to get the corner kick into the box, but the Bull Dogs back line cleared the ball without hesitation.
Kestler came up with another big save in the 32nd minute, collecting a 30-yard free kick from Cole Fosbrink. At intermission, North held on to a 1-0 lead.
In the 46th minute, McGill tallied his second goal of the night by dribbling down the left side of the field 20 yards, beating a Seymour defender and Clark, and firing a contested shot from just inside the box to the far post. McGill broke loose in the 50th minute to secure a hat trick by scooting a shot past Clark on a breakaway.
“Seymour dropped back very far, and there was a big gap in the midfield,” McGill said. “The midfielders did a great job finding me on my runs. They had a lot of time and space.”
The Bull Dogs added another score in the 61st minute when Finn Anderson found Graham Keele wide on the left side of the box for a goal toward the far post. McGill headed a loose ball off a corner kick into the net to extend the Bull Dogs lead to 5-0 in the 73rd minute.
“(McGill) worked very hard, and he’s very unselfish,” North coach Andy Glover said. “He creates his own opportunities and earned all those goals tonight.”
The Bull Dogs outshot the Owls 11-7, with Clark grabbing six saves and Kestler snagging two.
“That team showed the potential we’ve been waiting to see for the majority of the season,” Glover said. “Seymour fought hard. They’re a good team. We were just able to hit a gear tonight.”
North defeated East 4-2 on Aug. 26. In last year’s sectional final, the Bull Dogs bested their crosstown rivals 2-0.
With a couple days off before the final, North plans on making the most of the break.
“To be honest, we need rest,” Glover said. “In the two games we’ve played, I think we’ve played 15 kids. That’s a lot of kids with a lot of miles. We’re going to clean up some defensive details that could help us against Columbus East and work on the finishing touch, as well.”