Liz Tynan needed to make only one save in the first 79 minutes of Thursday’s sectional semifinal, but that save was a big one.
The Columbus North senior stopped a penalty kick in the 38th minute to preserve a 1-0 lead against Center Grove. Tanner Johnson added her second goal of the night in the second half, and the Bull Dogs advanced to Saturday’s title game with a 2-0 victory.
“I think we played amazing, and we need to take how we just played and take it to Saturday,” Johnson said.
North (11-3-2) will play Columbus East, which beat Franklin 4-0 in Thursday’s second semifinal, at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Richard Wigh Soccer Complex.
Johnson put the Bull Dogs on the board in the 28th minute. Caroline Hollenkamp took a free kick from 30 yards, and the ball found its way to Johnson on the left side of the box.
“(The Trojans’) No. 25 (Paige Waskom) was on me the whole time, but it was the one chance that she was a little too far from me, and I was able to get my foot around it,” Johnson said.
Center Grove (10-5-3) looked like it might tie the game just before halftime. In the 38th minute, Piper Belden was taken down in the box and had to come off the field.
Morgan Perry stepped up to take the PK, but it was smothered by Tynan.
“I was nervous, but I knew I had to be focused and just come up big for the team and make that stop,” Tynan said. “That was a big turning point in the game.”
Johnson’s second goal came in the 58th minute when she lofted one over the head of Trojans keeper Ella Thompson from 25 yards out.
“Tanner had some really nice goals,” North coach Derek Stewart said. “That free kick off Hollenkamp, that volley was fantastic. It was just a great team effort by everybody. We have a lot of confidence right now. We’re playing well, so we hope to build off of that and continue the run.”
North outshot Center Grove 14-9, putting five shots on goal to two for the Trojans. Tynan’s second and final save came in the final minute.
The Bull Dogs now will face an East team that they beat 1-0 early in the season.
“East is going to be tough, and they’re going to want to get revenge on us,” Tynan said. “We’ll just have to come out strong like we did tonight.”